The RAS for a resilient city

The world’s first large-scale water plaza and a district in the centre of the city that becomes climate change resilient thanks to the combined efforts of entrepreneurs, residents and municipal authorities: these are two examples of the achievements of the Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy (RAS).

Umbrella task

RAS focuses on urban development under one single umbrella task: building a resilient city of Rotterdam. This may refer to the storage of 1.7 million litres of water in the Benthemplein water plaza, or – just as likely – to the wall gardens and green roofs in the Zomerhofkwartier (ZoHo) district.

Concrete measures

The comprehensive urban development approach as described in RAS adds both to Rotterdam’s future safety and resilience. The projects launched in its wake demonstrate how ideas about a resilient city – partly as a result of international knowledge sharing and European subsidies – can lead to concrete measures.


Benthemplein is an innovative project in the area of water storage as well as a showcase that generates international exposure for Rotterdam. In dry weather conditions, the below-grade plaza serves as an attractive skateboard and basketball court. In heavy rainfall events, the plaza serves as a buffer, capturing the rainwater of the surrounding roofs and streets. In this manner, the plaza reduces the pressure on the sewerage system and helps to keep our feet dry. ZoHo also combines effective local innovations with international novelties, such as the water capturing Rain(a)way tile.

Water Sensitive

RAS combines the commitment and innovative power of local residents (bottom up) with the indispensable control and support of the municipality (top down). This approach is based on the underlying understanding that this type of alliances is the only way to future-proof public space. Along the same line of reasoning, the municipality has launched the Water Sensitive Rotterdam movement, which sets out a concrete plan to deliver on the ambition of addressing climate change resilience for the benefit of, and in cooperation with the people of Rotterdam.


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