The Luchtsingel is a 390 meter wooden pedestrian footbridge in Rotterdam that is innovating the financing of urban regeneration projects. By bypassing the existing models of real estate development and using crowd funding methods the designers were able to realise the project. Building a bridge that connects Rotterdam North to the city centre, revitalises forgotten areas and facilitates a more pedestrian friendly environment.
Started by Zones Urbaines Sensibles (ZUS). “I make Rotterdam” came from the problem that this part of the city was dominated by vacant and neglected sites. Hofplein was once a lively part of Rotterdam’s city centre but it had become detached from the rest of the city and was dominated by abandoned open spaces and vacant high rise buildings. They wanted to create and facilitate a pedestrian friendly environment but had limited means as there was no public money. As the team said
“the city cannot afford wait: the question of space is too complex to address in the future. Therefore it is the responsibility of Rotterdam to react to the problem of abandoned and derelict spaces. In order to achieve this new entrepreneurs and residents should be enthused in order to contribute to the development of an progressive public space”
To deliver the project there had to be a creative approach to the finance as well as the design. ZUS decided to use Crowd Funding to fund the project while also being innovative about how the bridge would be designed and constructed. The bridge was designed to be built and assembled in parts. This meant that with little money they could get the first section, test the idea quickly and also encourage the continuation of the project.
The 360m bridge was split into 17,000 boards. People could buy a plank for 25 euros with an engraving of their choice. Whether it was their name, wish or message to the city. As their campaign states “the more you donate, the longer the bridge.” There was also the option of buying an element or part of the bridge. This method of financing was a success an in the first three months they were able to raise €100,000. The project is a very interesting approach of crowd funding city development and empowering the local people to have a positive impact on their environment.