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Heerlijkheid Hoogvliet

Rotterdam

Heerlijkheid Hoogvliet is a public activity park in a small town in the suburbs of Rotterdam. Community facilities were developed with local people and build on the existing character of the town.

The Heerlijkheid was produced in response to a lack of cultural and leisure space in the town of Hoogvliet.

The Heerlijkheid project was delivered under the umbrella of WiMBY! (Welcome into My Backyard), a six-year settlement-wide experiment in urban renewal led by Crimson Architectural Historians.

WiMBY aimed to involve local residents in a bottom-up approach, identifying Hoogvliet’s unique character, and then building on this to reanimate the town. This contrasted with the more traditional demolish-and-rebuild strategy that official institutions were applying.

Architecture practice FAT first developed a unique architectural language for the park, inspired by Hoogvliet. They worked closely with local groups, identified by WiMBY through a mapping exercise, to design specific activity areas around residents’ needs.

Initially intended as a temporary festival space, the park’s design went through numerous permutations in response to planning and funding, before opening in 2008. The party hall at its heart is thriving, while use of the wider facility is slowly building. The use of the park may have been greater if a wider community had been involved early on in planning and decision-making.

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