Concentric Planning vs. Blitzkrieg

Amersfoort Old and New

Street scenes inside and outside of the historical center, just 200 meters apart. Amersfoort, The Netherlands. Photos: RM

It is 75 years ago this week that the city of Rotterdam was stripped of its center by German bombs. In general, the absence of an old center is seen as a deficiency; In contrast, it can also be said that it provides certain advantages, especially in the field of urban planning.  Continue reading

Patch-Up (Luchtsingel)

luchtfoto-hofplein-luchtsingel

L: Hofplein, Rotterdam before WW II, R: Luchtsingel

Before May 14, 1940 Rotterdam was considered a compact city. The street profiles were generally narrow, even for that time. Ports located in the center of the city were becoming inaccessible for road transport. The smoke of the bombings had not cleared until the city government started making reconstruction plans. Plans in which space was created for wide roads cutting through the city center. After the war they were executed rapidly. The previously lacking access to the city wwas laid out and the spaces in between were filled in a more or less ad hoc manner, during the decades that followed. Rotterdam had become infrastructure instead of a city.  Continue reading