Unite education, research and practice in innovative projects that stand out for interdisciplinary leadership

Sediment Lab: Intertidal urban wetlands in Rotterdam 2019

In collaboration with
Building with Sediment lab

Fransje Hooimeijer – Associate Professor TU Delft
Peter van Veelen, Buro Waterfront

Involved IE Design students
Louisa van den Brink (Urbanism)
Isabel Recubenis Sanchis (Urbanism)
Jan Fries (Urbanism)

Developing Design Guidelines for restored intertidal urban wetlands

Building with Sediment lab

The Living Lab Building with Sediment develops solutions for large-scale re-use of sediment for urban wetland restoration, waterfront improvement and flood risk management. The Lab is a collaboration between the Port of Rotterdam, the World Wild Life Fund, the city of Rotterdam and Dordrecht, 5 Dutch universities and several engineering, dredging and urban design companies. The Lab works in close collaboration with municipalities to help design and develop about 10 selected sites for urban wetland restoration projects, ranging from highly urban to peri-urban conditions.

Challenge sediment as a resource for urban tidal parks

The regional program River as Tidal Park, a large number of partners work together on the development of restored urban wetlands and tidal parks. The program River as a Tidal Park connects different objectives of the partners. For the Ministry of Water Ways and Public Works, the program is one of the ways to improve the ecological status of the Rhine-Meuse Estuary by providing regulatory ecosystem services, in compliance with the European Water Framework Directive. The cities of Rotterdam and Dordrecht see these tidal parks as high-quality elements of cityscapes that restore nature and improve spatial quality, thus providing cultural ecosystem services. For the Rotterdam Port Authority, tidal parks constitute one of the ways to re-use sediment that is produced by large scale dredging activities to reduce their CO2 footprint. Some tidal parks have already been completed, more than 12 tidal parks (totalling about 60 ha) are under development, and some tidal parks are still in the planning phase.

A key resource for the ecological functioning of these urban tidal parks is sediment. Capturing, storing and keeping sediment in place requires integrated knowledge on river hydrodynamics, morphology, ecology (above and underwater), urban landscape design, and coastal engineering. To serve practitioners and managers with knowledge, it is necessary to develop easy-to-understand practical guidelines for the design, development and maintenance of sediment based tidal wetlands in urban settings.

The final goal of the project is to develop a handbook/reference book that serves as a toolbox, source of inspiration and reference work for professionals in spatial development, urban development, landscape architecture, nature development, urban management and water management who are engaged in intertidal urban wetland restoration projects.