Koers op Zuid

Rotterdam, NL

How can Rotterdam Zuid become a fully-fledged city?

“Rotterdam Zuid is a misunderstood utopia,” argues Marinke Steenhuis. With the best of intentions, experimental and innovative urban plans have been conceived and implemented over the past few decades.

But this southern district of Rotterdam has ‘un-Dutch’ problems. There is a lot of investment through the national programme for Rotterdam Zuid and, more recently, a number of large area developments. However, these injections of capital and projects do not benefit everyone. In fact, there is a danger of a widening gap. In this context, De Zwarte Hond, together with the municipality of Rotterdam and SteenhuisMeurs, has drawn up a development perspective for Zuid, with an urgent recommendation: Think of Rotterdam Zuid as a city, take responsibility and increase cohesion!

Challenges for Rotterdam Zuid
The big challenge for this southern city distirct in the coming years will be to prevent the enormous developments taking place there from leading to two different worlds that completely bypass each other. In order to be able to steer this dynamic and maintain the right balance, it is necessary to redefine the mission of Rotterdam Zuid and arrive at a new perspective for the future. This means looking for a workable structure that integrates existing regional knowledge and ambitions into a compelling picture of the future, and at the same time provides tools to get started.

The three strengths of Rotterdam Zuid

Change yet stay the same
The strengths of Rotterdam Zuid are working towards greater cohesion in the future. In 2040, you will live in the Zuid because you want to live there, because your friends or family live there, because you go to school there, or because you have a good job there. It’s a city where you can develop into who you want to be, a place where you can grow into a healthy adult and where you are expected to stay that way. Rotterdam Zuid is a city where you can grow old and still be part of society. Zuid allows everyone to freely choose their cultural background, religion and identity. Zuid is safe, biodiverse and climate-resilient. In Zuid, the whole world is close at hand: everything you want can be reached within 15 minutes.

New developments contribute to the existing city

Strengthen recognizability of four landscapes

Systems approach to delivering neighbourhoods

Transform key infrastructure: from barrier to connector

Focus on the right mix of functions

Proximity and accessibility to work and education

Social diversity and quality of life

Neighbourhoods for people: resilient, fine-grained and healthy

Innovation and equal opportunities



Four-step approach
Landscapes: making better use of the four landscapes of Zuid by working on the missing links: social security, accessibility, a fine-meshed network within the neighbourhoods and large green spaces nearby. In this way, we can build on a solid foundation.

Infrastructure: moving from the current car-dominated infrastructure to one that prioritizes walking and cycling. The ‘patches’ are places where the car will soon be a guest; places where it will be easier to heal the urban fabric. Downgrading roads to 30 km/h offers opportunities to make streets different, friendlier and greener.

Work nodes


Work nodes: more education and work will come close to Zuid. By removing Zuid’s isolation, we will improve the business climate and attract new functions.

Neighbourhoods: Zuid can be divided into six types of neighbourhood, each of which deserves its own strategy and approach. In each of these areas, key developments can be identified that should be used to improve the neighbourhood.

Koers op Zuid

Most of the urban development in Rotterdam Zuid takes place around Kop van Zuid and Zuidplein, making these two dynamic areas completely separate from the rest of the southern city district. De Zwarte Hond’s spatial development perspective, based on an overarching vision, brings coherence to the separate parts. The vision also takes into account the dynamic character of Zuid, shaped by a history of innovation, daring and entrepreneurship.

The main task here is to connect the different urban fabrics so that everyone benefits from the planned development. The area is divided into islands by infrastructure, creating an inaccessible streetscape. We are therefore committed to strengthening the main public spaces through a much finer network and more space for cyclists and pedestrians. In addition, the landscape quality of the area will be emphasized. In this way, while retaining its character, Zuid can realize its full potential and become a healthier, safer and more social area.

The spatial development perspective also pays attention to Zuid’s potential to occupy a strong position in the regional network. To make room for this potential, the quality of life around the transport hubs must be improved. With Koers op Zuid [Heading for South], Rotterdam Zuid will be transformed from its current island kingdom into a connected, strong and mixed city, where pedestrians and cyclists come first in a healthy, green and climate-adapted environment.


Koers op Zuid
Rotterdam, NL
4.000 ha
Gemeente Rotterdam
Research, Urban Design
Infrastructure, Integrale verstedelijkingsstrategie
More info