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Can an urban planning design be instrumental in creating a sense of community and social integration? After 1945, there is a growing conviction that communities can be created. Pendrecht, a residential part of Rotterdam, boasts an open living environment as it gradually expands from local neighbourhood to area, to city quarter to major city.

Community centres, churches, schools and shops promote a sense of community. Homes for couples, families, singles and senior citizens offer a living environment ‘from the cradle to the grave’ and help to secure long-term social relationships. With its spatial design that was developed to stimulate this social ideal, Pendrecht made the Netherlands famous. This pioneering design represents a defining moment in a unique Dutch planning tradition that began with the seventeenth century polders and reaches its pinnacle in the twentieth century.

The urban planning study for Pendrecht was made in partnership with the group of architects known as 'Opbouw' (the Rotterdam group of the Dutch branch of the Congrès Internationaux d' Architecture Moderne or CIAM) and was part of a series of studies for the expansion of Rotterdam in the form of Pendrecht and Alexander polder. At the time, these studies were presented and discussed at CIAM meetings. The designs experiment with a hierarchical structure of the plan: a number of small residential units combining to form a community and a number of communities that together comprise a neighbourhood.

Pendrecht I (1949) and II (1951) consist of low-rise and mid-rise structures. The design emphasises the horizontal apartment, situating apartments around centrally positioned public buildings and amenities.


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