The six towns collectively known as the ´Drecht cities´ share a long history. They function as a regional centre in the boarder of the city of Rotterdam, but have also an influence that extends beyond the local and regional scales. In a 16th century map of the area, the river Noord is drawn horizontally and central to the canvas. This shows the importance of the river for the area, as economic and social space, and as territory organiser.
In the plan proposal ´Tussendijks´, the river is similarly rotated on the main map. The drawings illustrate the most significant re-development areas, which are situated along the riverbank and in the area between the dikes of the river Noord. Actually, ´Tussendijks´ means ´between the dikes´. This is the space that binds the six ´Drecht cities´. And here lays the core of the proposal: making the river again the front side of the region, by using existing elements, programmes and spatial variations along the Noord.
The river connects a number of the region’s economic, cultural and recreational resources. A key element in our strategy is to introduce an extensive water ferry network which would form the region’s main infrastructure and act as a catalyst for future development. Literally, this will transform the water side into a front side (now often a back yard).
The interchange at Ablasserdam acts as a transfer hub between road, rail transport and the boat to Kinderdijk. Vertical piers with work units and a pier hotel become signs of new development. Simultaneously they carry the memory of an historical, but still active, shipyard, and offer potential for creating new strategies.