Runner-up in Delta Cities of the future competition, Rotterdam/NL

Jorg Sieweke, with Tim Dekker (limnotech), Helmut Thoele (Provincie Zuid-Holland) win runner-up in international UNESCO-IHE competition in Rotterdam. The documentary movie feature of “24 hour -Pressure cooker” workshop is online.

The concept introduces a transformation of Rotterdam’s Stadhaven in to a “save-haven”. The harbor docks are outside the polder area, but at the same time the highest ground. Developing a “chain of pearls along the river banks in the north and a lifeline along the southern river bank allows for a tempo-spatial strategy to incrementally phase out the harbor downstream. The Rijnmond polder adjacent to the south gets access to this save-haven

Competition Brief

Many cities around the world are facing the challenges of sustainable living and development and are exploring ways to enhance their ability to manage an uncertain future. In the developing world these challenges are often due to increasing concentrations of vulnerable people in vulnerable locations adjacent to rivers, coasts and in low-lying zones that are more floodprone.

Drivers and pressures include relative wealth; population growth; the provision of food; lifestyle expectations; energy and resource use and climate change. These pose new challenges for the way we design our cities of the future.

Cities everywhere are changing faster than we can assess and understand the diverse forces that cause those changes – these forces themselves are dynamic and fluid. Urban planning on the other hand is relatively static. It is the code by which development decisions are made and is therefore by definition an exercise in deciding a city’s future form. In so doing it gives certainty to the ”actors” in that future. Urban planning occurs within a political ideology that informs the decision-making process at a given time. Thus to a large extent, we live in “yesterday’s cities”: many of the urban patterns we see today – roads, buildings, land ownership, etc. – reflect decision-making periods of the past. As the prevailing ideology changes, so does the planning of our cities.

Since most of large cities are located in deltaic regions and other low -lying areas, an unintended side effect of their growth and the ensuing concentration of population is the increased exposure to floods. Worldwide the number of inhabitants threatened by flooding has increased dramatically. Moreover, floods have become much more frequent and have had more devastating effects than in former times. Indeed, these trends suggest that urban communities are becoming more vulnerable to floods. Climate change is exacerbating these trends and poses new challenges.

Organisation and Jury 

Organizing committee:

  • Marijn Kuitert, Rotterdam Climate Proof
  • John Jacobs, Rotterdam Climate Proof
  • Chris Zevenbergen, Flood Resilience Group, Unesco-IHE Institute for Water Education, TU-Delft
  • William Veerbeek, Flood Resilience Group, Unesco-IHE Institute for Water Education
  • Bert Hooijer, Hogeschool Rotterdam
  • Paula Schoenmaker-Luling, Dura Vermeer Business Development


  • Chair: Tracy Metz (Harvard Graduate School, Architectural Record, NRC Handelsblad)
  • Prof. András Szöllösi-Nagy, UNESCO-IHE, Delft
  • Prof. Erik Pasche, Technische Universität Hamburg – Harburg, Hamburg
  • Prof. Han Meyer, TU-Delft, Delft
  • Bert Diphoorn, UN-Habitat, Nairobi
  • Prof. Chris Zevenbergen, Unesco-IHE, Delft
  • William Veerbeek, Unesco-IHE, Delft
  • Koen Olthuis, Waterstudio, Rijswijk
  • Ger Bergkamp, World Water Council, Marseille

Experts Pressure-Cooker Session:

  • Djeevan Schiferli (IBM)
  • Cees Blok (IBM)
  • Marcel Hertogh (AT Osborne)
  • Ferdi Timmermans (Movares)
  • Erik Pool (DDD)
  • Huib Haccou (Habiform)
  • Sebastiaan van Herk (TU-Delft)
  • Raimond Hafkenscheid (CPWC)
  • Henk van Schaik (CPWC)
  • Pieter Bloemen, (VROM)
  • Luit-Jan Dijkhuis (DG-Water)
  • Elizabeth C English (University of Waterloo)
  • Noortje Geurts
  • Peter van Veelen (DSV)

The team will be complemented further in the coming weeks. These include experts from the following organisations:

  • RDP
  • Stadshavens
  • DS+V
  • Deltares
  • TU-Delft
  • Unesco-IHE

Published by: paradoXcity

Jorg Sieweke practices as a licensed landscape architect and urban designer in Berlin. Since 2009, he directs the design-research initiative paradoXcity. In 2020 he started a position as Associate Professor to conceive and conduct a new master program in "Landscape architecture for global sustainability" at Norwegian University of Life Science (NMBU), located at the Oslo Fjord. Before he held professorships at University of Virginia and was Visiting Professor at RWTH Aachen and HCU Hamburg in Germany. In 2015 he was resident fellow at Villa Massimo - the German Academy in Rome. ParadoXcity challenges convention of practice in landscape architecture to establish its own trajectory of a landscape & urbanism. With his PhD. (2015) he interrogates the implicit knowledge production in the design process.

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