Urban designer Frits Palmboom (1951) made his name in 1987 with the book Rotterdam, verstedelijkt landschap (Rotterdam, Urbanised Landscape), a completely new interpretation of the urban morphology of Rotterdam. Based on a historical analysis of the physical history of the urban landscape, Palmboom showed how a combination of the geology of the delta, the polder patterns and the war damage of the bombardment together with the motors of modernisation of large-scale traffic and ports had led to the characteristic fragmented urban fabric of Rotterdam.
Reading the landscape
As a student, Palmboom was inspired at the former TH Delft by the work of Pjotr Gonggrijp. His work showed him how drawing could be a form of reading the landscape. In 1973 Palmboom made an analysis of and design for the urbanisation of the area around Alphen aan den Rijn, in which the influence of Gonggrijp is clearly visible. Based on a meticulous morphological analysis, Palmboom developed a linear urbanisation model along a public transport line based on cycles of growth and change.
The design of IJburg (1995-97), which Palmboom made together with Jaap van den Bout, also relates to the coherence between the large-scale manufactured landscape of the polders and the IJsselmeer area, and the physical morphology of the new district of islands. Palmboom designed a vocabulary of transitions between water and land with an eye for the relationship between man and the vast water landscape.
Urban planner Joost Váhl (1939) made a name for himself as an activist and advocate of the mixing of traffic where the dominance of the car had to be curbed while pedestrians and cyclists were given more space. In Delft he laid the first speed bump in the Netherlands.
In 1989 Willem Jan Neutelings (1959) was commissioned by the municipality of The Hague to study the urbanisation process of the southern section of the so-called Randstad conurbation in the west of the Netherlands, in particular the area between The Hague and Rotterdam.
The Rotterdam office Van den Broek and Bakema made the first design for the Tanthof residential area south of Delft in 1969. The plan provided a core of high-rise slabs along and over a major trunk road towards Rotterdam, with the low-rise neighbourhoods around it.
Gonggrijp graduated in 1969 on a landscape study of the western Netherlands. His design research focused on the ongoing expansion of the port of Rotterdam. For this research he created a series of hand-drawn maps with overlaid transparent sheets.
The New Netherlands
In 1987 the exhibition 'Nieuw Nederland' (The New Netherlands) took place on the initiative of the foundation Nederland Nu Als Ontwerp (The Netherlands Now As Design). With a view to the future urbanisation of the Netherlands, four scenarios were developed for the spatial development of the Netherlands up to the year 2050.