Kralingen aan de Maas

Unsollicited urban planning

In the eastern part of Rotterdam a number of private and public city making projects are being initiated, including a new bridge between Rotterdam North and South, mixed use and/or housing developments around the football club Excelsior, Erasmus University, neighbourhood the Esch, at Brainpark (a former office park) and the historic park De Oude Plantage and Arboretum Trompenburg received funding to improve their grounds. These developments will have an enormous impact on the liveability of the existing neighbourhoods and therefore demand an overall plan, according to local residents, to knit these individual ‘islands’ together into a green and active urban fabric. Local citizens organised themselves in a civil movement, named Kralingen aan de Maas, to campaign for exactly such a plan.

Action Research

To make themselves heard we experiment with two innovative ways of citizens’ empowerment:

  1. We created a Public-Private-People Partnership – a network alliance in which all major stakeholders who play a role in city-making projects in the area participate, including Kralingen aan de Maas.
  2. We organized inspiration sessions to facilitate the public debate beyond the formal participation processes in order to build a collective shared urgency and vision.

(Co-creative) design

We have organized a series of interactive workshops in which residents, representatives of local organizations, civil servants and business stakeholders undertook a series of design exercises in which urgencies and wishes for the four main ‘long lines’ (public connections) were formulated.


  • Firstly, by bringing together the stakeholders that have an actual stake within the area and discuss each other’s proposals, ideas and struggles, they are more inclined to actually think beyond the boundaries of their own plots, to rethink their proposals in light of other developments and to view the area a whole rather than a collection of ‘islands’.
  • Secondly, by bringing together residents in settings which are related to city-making but not to an actual (public) participation process, they are provided with the opportunity to debate and discuss more the essence of quality city-making. In this way, city-making regains its political aspects, which are essential for democratic decision-making.


In this project we worked in close collaboration with:

  • Gemeente Rotterdam - Stadsontwikkeling
  • Excelsior Rotterdam
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Stebru
  • Cordeel Nederland
  • Impact Vastgoed BV
  • Vesteda
  • Syntrus Achmea Real Estate & Finance
  • ERA Contour B.V.
  • Woonstad Rotterdam,
  • Kraaijvanger Architects
  • ECHO
  • Trompenburg Tuinen & Arboretum