Nesselande – Welcome to Suburbia, Rotterdam Style

This is not your typical auto-oriented, sprawling, single-family residential neighborhood. Nope, the City first extended the Metro (subway) Line B and built the Nesselande station as its northern terminus. Then the neighborhood started to take shape with plenty of green space, a plethora of housing options (from low density homes to high rise apartments), a central shopping area (with two supermarkets and 30+ shops), people-friendly streets, cozy bicycle routes, loads of public space for neighbors to interact, and a seaside resort. That’s right the neighborhood has its own beach!

Okay, it is technically still suburbia (suiting the more car-friendly Dutch lifestyle), but at least it has taken into account the benefits of short distances for most daily trips and making the full range of mobility options attractive for Nesselande-ers.

Here’s a little of the promo that I found on the neighborhood…

The new Nesselande residential district, northeast of Rotterdam, is to be occupied by more than 14,000 residents in 4,750 residential units. The centre of the new district comprises shops, urban facilities and housing. The shopping areas’s stunning design, presents Nesselande with a lively inner city whose character and design far exceeds the normal facilities provided in other such growth districts. The urban development plan, chosen by Rotterdam Municipality, offers a beach, a boulevard, a covered shopping courtyard, a public square and a pleasant residential environment in a strikingly harmonious architectural setting; the birth of the Nesselande Seaside Resort.

For stunning visuals click below:


About Denver Igarta

This blog was established to document my search for streets that my 5-year old can play near without my constant supervision. Where kids can live active lives and learn independence. My quest began when I was selected as an Urban and Regional Policy Fellow by the German Marshall Fund, for info: I am a multi-modal transportation planner for the City of Portland (OR), America's sustainable transportation capital. SHORT BIO/PROJECT DESCRIPTION Denver Igarta (October-November 2011), Urban Planner, City of Portland Bureau of Transportation Project: Livable Streets Where People Live: Fostering People-Friendly Streets by De-emphasizing Automobile Traffic in Residential Areas Cities: Munich, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Malmö Denver Igarta is an urban planner with the Transportation Bureau of the City of Portland. He works on a broad range of transportation policy, street design initiatives and pedestrian, bicycle and freight planning efforts. He recently served as one of the principal authors of Portland's new bicycle plan. He is currently staffing two “active transportation” projects: a rails-with-trails project along the Banfield Freeway and a local street system plan for one of the state's most diverse neighborhoods. He performed his graduate studies at the University of Dortmund, Germany and the University of the Philippines and holds a Master of Science in Regional Development Planning. Portland is struggling to reverse generations of auto-oriented development patterns and make neighborhood streets more “livable” (people-friendly) by restoring their multimodal and placemaking functions. Mr. Igarta's research will evaluate how cities in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden have enacted policies to restore the multiple functions of public streets through traffic management, green infrastructure and giving priority to sustainable travel modes. He will meet with local practitioners, policymakers and civic leaders involved in transportation planning, traffic safety and neighborhood livability projects, street design, and implementation of multi-modal traffic policies. The ultimate aim of the study is to compile a set of best practices and policies implemented in European cities that have broadened the role of residential streets beyond automobile mobility. Additional focus will be given to understanding how acceptable policy tradeoffs are determined within city agencies and the level of public support for measures that restrict car movements, such as reduced speed zones, bicycle streets, shared spaces, residents-only streets and residential parking restrictions.
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3 Responses to Nesselande – Welcome to Suburbia, Rotterdam Style

  1. Marie Johnson says:

    Love the density and the services in Nesselande. How fabulous too that folks can live a darn urban lifestyle and can still enjoy a real beach. The landscape, however, seems rather sterilie. A more nuanced, sophisticated landscape architecture could provide a richness to make the public and shared spaces that would make them more inviting.

    Overall in your field visits, how are planners using landscape architecture to inform the design of transportation routes and public spaces? Is effort made to expand tree canopy, build green streets, or incorporate native plants? To what extent are landscape approaches considered for their benefits for heat reduction, stormwater, habitat, livability or safety?

    • In Rotterdam I learned about two impressive efforts to integrate urban design with transportation infrastructure. 1) Rotterdam Style (Stijl) – a plan produced by the municipality to set guidelines for designing major streets that enhance their placemaking role. 2) I met the (very bright) directors of the design firm Urbanisten, who are developing a concept on the “functional ambiance” of streets that correlates the roadway dimensions with the quality of the living environment. It also factors into the equation, not only traffic flow, but also the movement (and placement) of people and features on the street.

      I’m actually glad you asked…
      Today, one the Urbanisten directors informed me about an exchange-programme they hope to initiate between the US-NL on the theme of “stormwater and urbanism”. Portland is high on their list of exemplary cities to visit.
      They asked if I could provide a list of contacts (best persons/organizations) who work on issues related to both stormwater and urban design. Can you suggest any experts from the city, universities, or private firms in Portland?

      • Marie Johnson says:

        Thanks for sharing the info. These sound like interesting efforts to learn from.

        In Portland Walker Macy is the go-to firm for integrating stormwater into urban environments; I don’t know if they get involved in broader planning and design issues. Seems like GreenWorks is a good one as well. Marcy McInelly and Urbsworks worked on some of these ideas for the CNU, approaching them from a transportation perspective. Here at the city, Linda Dobson’s Sustainable Stormwater team, including Ivy Dunlap, are the folks to talk with. It’d be interesting to see if Mike Abbate’ would lend some time to such inquiries. Certainly he has the background, though it’s not in his pervious at Parks.

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