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Rotterdam’s Fantastic Plan to Make Storm Water Beautiful

The city is planning 25 parks that will recycle rainwater while serving as urban playgrounds.

Rotterdam

You don’t usually see the water-management infrastructure in a city–it flows from your tap then disappears down the drain. It might as well be magic. No wonder your average joe doesn’t care about how vital water management is to a working city.

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Rotterdam

This week, architects Florian Boer and Marco Vermeulen are holding a seminar in Toronto on Waterpleinen, a solution to that problem, which they designed for Rotterdam. It’s part of Water, a slate of symposiums and an exhibition at the University of Toronto, all dedicated to the ways that designers are reimagining water use.

The Rotterdam plan is brilliantly simple: Rather than hiding storm management systems underground, it turns them into a public park. Massive concrete playgrounds double as rainwater collectors; when they’re not full, they are programmed with activities. When they are full, the snaking patterns in the concrete create funky reflecting pools. 

It’s not just an academic exercise, either. The idea, which Boer and Vermeulen proposed four years ago, is now an official policy in Rotterdam. Twenty five water parks are already planned, and a prototype is set to be installed soon.

[Via Pruned]

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About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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