The city centre as the City Lounge
Hospitable, ‘warm’, personal and sociable: a city that exudes pride, a city that's clean, complete and safe and that invites others to meet and stay longer. The city centre as the City Lounge is the metaphor for the impression that the city strives for: the city centre as the city's lounge, the ideal environment for any pedestrian.
A bit of history
Long ago, the streets of Rotterdam looked very different. Over the years, or even the centuries, the city's role changed. Possibly, there is no other city in the Netherlands that underwent as many changes. Before 1940, Rotterdam was a rich and modern city bustling with activity, with many vessels moored along the busy quays. Bombs destroyed Rotterdam’s city centre during the Second World War, but they quickly rebuilt it. Rotterdam truly wanted to become a modern city again, with a new city centre. After the war, most of the residents went to live outside of the city centre, in new, green neighbourhoods. And the vibrant, cultural night scene? It disappeared at the same time as the city centre. After the bombardment, they rebuilt the city centre as a business city. It lacked vibrancy, and the Streets were quiet at night.
In the period after 1985, a new appreciation and approach to the city centre was born. The first impetus towards functional blending and area profiling, as well as the reintroduction of city centre residents, took place. We were once again looking for a city centre that offers mixed use of public spaces and buildings. A city centre with global companies with little curb appeal. There aren't enough self-evident routes through the city centre to connect the unrelated spots and the presence of water in the city centre could be utilised much better. Therefore, many of the lovely spots remain hidden unless you know the city well. The city centre as a whole can become much more vibrant and can have a more pleasant atmosphere.
That is the essence of the ambitions for the City Lounge. Any initiative that promotes liveliness and vibrancy is welcome. The companies, institutions, residents and students in the inner city can make an important contribution in this respect.
Examples of places that are recognisable within the City Lounge
The Central Station is an eye-catcher and the entrance to the city, but, as part of the regional development of the Rotterdam Central District, the outdoor space also enjoys a major boost. Pedestrians are literally given red-carpet treatment when they enter the city. Apart from other major regional developments, like the Market Hall, many streets and squares in the city centre were transformed into more appealing places for people, like the Meent, Kruiskade, Binnenrotte and the new city park at Grotekerkplein. Greening also took place at the quays along the Maas, amongst other places.
Future: Walk the talk
Rotterdam wants to further develop the city centre into a vital area with a high degree of spatial quality for people to meet, stay and enjoy entertainment. The city centre is the heart of the city. The term 'City Lounge' explains the feeling that the city centre must portray. The current building programme means that another 10,000 residents will be added by 2025. This will increase the pressure on public space and will require smart considerations concerning the mobility approach and the way we design our streets and squares. An attractive residential climate and a walkable city are central in our approach: Walk the talk.