Back in 2011, a local architecture firm decided that Rotterdam's Hofplein neighbourhood needed a bit of a boost. Architects at the firm, Zones Urbaines Sensibles (ZUS), put together a plan to open up public spaces in the area, and link up the whole thing via a bright yellow pedestrian bridge.
Like so many plans to regenerate city spaces, the concept was great - but it could well have remained just a concept. But rather than waiting for city funding, ZUS set up "I Make Rotterdam", a crowdfunding campaign for the bridge, the project's centrepiece. Each sponsor paid at least 25 Euros, and, in return, would have their chosen message inscribed on one of the bridge's planks.
Names inscribed on the brige. Image: ZUS.
The project went on to win the Rotterdam City Initiative competition in 2012, which acted as another financial boost.
This first phase of the project is now completed, and the bridge connects Hofplein with the city's Northern district. ZUS plans to extend the bridge, however, once the firm receives more donations.
This approach to infrastructure as both crowdfunded and flexible is very new: it suggests that in future, citizens could play a much greater role in both choosing and funding city infrastructure, which could then adapt more readily to their changing needs. Watch this space.
Plans for the bridge from above. Image: ZUS.