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SWA/Balsley unveils Nelson Mandela Park Master Plan for Rotterdam

The conceptual plan provides much-needed central neighborhood and civic open space in the city’s South Maashaven district.

May 03, 2021 |
Nelson Mandela Park green space in Rotterdam

Courtesy SWA/Balsley

SWA/Balsley has recently unveiled the Nelson Mandela Park Master Plan concept for Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The project will be located in a post-industrial area along the harbor that is home to a growing and increasingly diverse immigrant population. Inspired by the natural hydrology and tidal vegetation systems of the nearby river, Nelson Mandela Park Master Plan celebrates the maritime heritage of Rotterdam while harnessing the coast for the benefit of future generations.


Nelson Mandela Park Master Plan


The design includes a vision for a “Culture Campus” that will give the park a unique identity within Rotterdam’s park system and waterfront. The park is surrounded by dense urban districts lacking green spaces. SWA/Balsley worked with the City and Arup to create a plan that will serve these adjacent neighborhoods by providing a seven-hectare destination comprising a naturalized shoreline, marsh habitats, multi-purpose lawns, tree groves, and sculpted knolls and overlooks.

Additionally, the design team advocated to create a space large enough to accommodate more community programming. As such, the design features multiple flexible lawn areas for community events, all-age play grounds in a shaded tree grove, a cultural plaza, overlooks, and a marsh walk. The water’s edge was conceived as a dynamic experience and includes innovative tidal pools, wetland habitats, and a local water taxi station and pavilion.

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