In the summer of 2019, the IABR–Atelier Rotterdam carried out two parallel studies into local energy in the Bospolder-Tussendijken (BoTu) neighborhood under the heading ‘Building Blocks for a Cooperative Approach.’ They constituted an investigation into the spatial-energetic building blocks that are required and a mainly anthropological exploration of BoTu’s established and as yet uncharted invisible social networks. The results of these two exploratory studies are employed to take the next step: a LEAP, a Local Energy Action Plan.

Potential heat resources in BoTu

IABR–Atelier Rotterdam - PosadMaxwan & Generation.Energy

Spatial-Energetic Building Blocks
The research into conceivable spatial-energetic building blocks was commissioned by the IABR and carried out by PosadMaxwan & Generation.Energy. It charted the potential for generating, saving, storing, and exchanging energy; identified costs and benefits and ways to create cohesion; and studied the extent to which our efforts to achieve the goal of being CO2-neutral by 2050 is likely to bear fruit.
The outcome is a package of possible measures that can be assessed by assigning each so-called Spatial-Energetic Building Block a ‘value’ based on questions such as: How does this building block perform in terms of sustainability and on what scale? Does the building block require the involvement of individuals or that of the collective? Can we develop a business case for this building block or does it require public funding?

Social Networks
The investigation into the role that both established and as yet invisible social networks in the neighborhood can play in the energy transition was carried out by four local parties that know BoTu well and worked closely together: Transformers, Beekhuizen Bindt, Eliza Works, and Steps2Inspiration. The research was also an anthropological exploration of BoTu’s self-image, of the needs and challenges of today, and the requirements and wants for the future with which the residents identify.

(In)visible social networks in BoTu

IABR–Atelier Rotterdam - Transformers, Beekhuizen Bindt, Eliza Works, Steps2Inspiration

In the autumn of 2019, the IABR–Atelier employs the results of the two exploratory studies to take a next step: a LEAP, a Local Energy Action Plan. This involves a new approach to the energy transition. Considering the potential of the Spatial-Energetic Building Blocks, we will explore which trajectories and projects to design and implement a transition path to 2050 that is supported by the district can be realized in collaboration with active and activated local networks.

Towards a LEAP

IABR–Atelier Rotterdam © Ooze

With LEAP, which is being researched and advanced by Rotterdam-based OOZE Architects and Urbanists, the IABR–Atelier Rotterdam delves deeply into BoTu to (be able to) explore how the energy transition can serve as a lever for a broader qualitative leap toward the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals on the scale level of the neighborhood.

Consequently, BoTu is also a Test Site that can provide new insights and different approaches to realizing the energy transition in other districts in Rotterdam and beyond. This role of BoTu as a social-spatial-energetic laboratory will of course be highlighted during the IABR–2020, which will be programmed partly in and together with the neighborhood, with BoTu itself becoming a biennial exhibition.

The results of the explorations of building blocks and networks can be downloaded at the bottom of this page (only in Dutch).

The IABR–Atelier Rotterdam: Energy Transition as Leverage for Socially Inclusive City Making is a collaboration of IABR en the Municipality of Rotterdam (Department of Urban Development and Resilient Rotterdam).