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AEROTROPOLIS in the making ? The case of Rotterdam The Hague Airport

Advait JANI IUAV Venezia This report is prepared for the Schiphol group on the Rotterdam The Hague airport with assistance from theGROUNDS.

INDEX - Introduction to the concept of the Aerotropolis - The case of Rotterdam The Hague Airport - Setting the context, local and regional ground conditions around the airport - Issues related to the airport, Noise, Connectivity and Land uses - Looking ahead, SWOT, scenarios for the future, Methodology of work - Design Interventions, local and regional scale - Conclusions - Interviews, sources and references


in the making, the case of Rotterdam The Hague Airport

Airports are among the most characteristic elements of the metropolitan area. They are about to rewrite the geography of the urban territory. In just as similar and emphatic a way as the central station influenced the growth and shape of the city, airports now enhance the economic shift from main cities towards the urban periphery in metropolitan areas. This is however not the case of Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM). On the contrary RTM is looked more as a obstacle towards the growth of the city of Rotterdam. Introduction ‘The aerotropolis represents the logic of globalization made flesh in the form of cities. whether we consider it to be good or simply inevitable, the global village holds these truths to be self evident: that customers on the far side of the world may matter more than those next door; that costs must continually be wrung from every piece of every business in a market-share war of all against all; that the pace of business , and of life, will always move faster and cover more ground; and that we must pledge our alliance if we want our iPhones, Amazon orders, fatty tuna, Lipitor and Valentine’s day roses at our doors tomorrow morning. If the airport is the mechanism making all things possible, then everything else – our factories, offices, schools – will be built accordingly. The aerotropolis will be a new kind of city, one native to our era of instant gratification – call it the instant age. Edge City author Joel Garreau declared, “Cities are always created around whatever the state-of-the-art transportation device is at that time”. When the state of the art is shoe leather and donkeys, the result is the hilly paths of Jerusalem. When its men on horseback and sailing ships, it’s the port of Lisbon, Hong Kong or Boston, and the canals of Venice and Amsterdam. The birth of the railroad produced Kansas city, Omaha and the stockyards of Chicago. Today, the modern combination on the ground is the automobile and internet, yielding Garreau’s exurban ‘edge cities’, which are everywhere and nowhere within America, and have since cropped up in Bangalore and beyond. Soaring above them all are jet aircrafts – first put into service some sixty years ago, at the onset of the jet age – collapsing the distance between Dallas and Dubai as effortlessly as the internet nodes connecting them. “because of the airport”, Garreau says, “it’s possible to imagine a world capital in a place that was once an absolute backwater – a Los Angeles or a Dallas appearing in an utterly improbable location, like Bangkok. Cities have always sprouted at the junctions of commerce and industry, coalescing over time as we followed our callings to them. No one has ever succeeded in building one from scratch out of pure anticipation, following a logic that makes perfect sense on paper but falls apart in practice. In Amsterdam, home to the first aerotropolis-by-design, Dutch planners have a saying: The airport leaves the city The city follows the airport The airport becomes the city The aerotropolis offers a new transportation paradigm powerful and compelling enough to assert itself as the bustling centre of commerce within the a city whose hinterlands lie a continent away. “Look for yesterdays busiest train terminals and you’ll find today’s great urban centres. Look for today’s busiest airports and you’ll find the great urban centres of tomorrow. This is the union of urban planning, airport planning and business strategy”. The aerotropolis is a machine designed to process the perishable in any form and in the need-it-right –this-second economy, that might be this year’s model iphone a month before its planned obsolescence, or a tailored wonder drug unravelling one molecule a time.

Airports are among tine most cliaracteristic elements of the metropolitan area. They are about to rewrite the geography of the urban territory. In just as similar and emphatic a way as the central station influenced the growth and shape of the city, airports now enhance the economic shift from the main cities towards the urban periphery in metropolitan areas. This shift is the result of improved infrastructural conditions around the airports (major ring roads, public transport corridors and the airports themselves), as compared to other, more central locations. The above passages are taken from two books, Aerotropolis by John Kasarda and Greg Lindsay and From Airport to Airport City by Mathis Güller, Michael Güller . The message is quite simple and clear. The future of travel belongs to the aviation industry. Like it or not, air travel is here to stay. Air travel has been on the rise since the last 6 decades or so. Until a more faster and efficient means of travel is not found in the future, this trend will continue into the future. it is estimated that world air travel will rise to nearly ten billion passengers per year and freight to nearly 900 million tonnes per year. Out of the five billion passengers that travel around the world in 2030, it is obvious that the future of airports would not be the same as today. World air travel has been on the rise since the last sixty years since the first passenger flight took to the skies. It is estimated that world air travel will rise to nearly ten billion passenger per year by 2030. A good chunk of the passengers will be flying through the various airports in the EU. The deregulation of the aviation industry and the introduction of Low Cost Carriers (LCC) into the European skies has meant a large influx of airlines, passengers and cargo. This is where the role of Rotterdam The Hague airport comes in. The airport had seen major growth in cargo handling at the end of the cold war and the opening of markets in the eastern bloc. However, it has been in a decline ever since and was at the verge of shut down due to the many noise complaints from the surrounding areas. A new lease of life was given to the airport when the airstrip in Den Haag was shut. It was then decide to rename the airport to Rotterdam The Hague airport (RTM).

The Amsterdam “Zuid-As” evolves as the number one business location of the Netherlands, it obviously profited from the national “mainport policy” that stimulated growth around Schiphol, defining the airport as both a traffic platform and an economic motor.

Between the centre of the city of Zurich and the airport, unprecedented quantities of new urban substance have been built during the last is years. The former periphery emerges as one of “the three future cities” of Zurich.

Helsinki will witness the creation of a major “logistical activity zone” along the third ring road (the E18 TEN route}, with an airport city— theAvlapolis— as Its showpiece, in the Arlanda corridor, north of Stockholm, close to the city centre and with top access to the airport, IT and high-tech businesses settle rapidly.

The case of Rotterdam The Hague Airport - Present conditions Rotterdam The Hague airport (RTM) earlier called Rotterdam Airport,Vliegveld Zestienhoven was constructed in the 1950’s. It acquired this name since it was built on the Zestienhoven polder. The airport was to act as the second entry point into The Netherlands after Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS). Over the years the airport hasn’t seen any substantial growth. There has been a steady increase in the number of passengers with the airport just touching the one million passenger mark in 2011. RTM has seen a major growth phase in the 1990’s after opening of the eastern bloc. During this time the airport was a major hub for freight . This number has however declined over the years and is fairly insignificant for the airport in the present context. The airport has had to undergo several obstacles till date ever since the Dutch government deregulated the management of airports to the provincial government. In the 1970s plans were made to either close or move the airport to make room for houses and the uncertain future caused a stagnation in the airport’s growth and many operators left. For almost thirty years the airport faced closure, but the economic growth of the 1990s caused an increase in passengers again and in 2001 it was decided that the airport’s current location would be maintained for at least a century. Once the airport at Den Haag was shut down, it was decided that the Rotterdam airport would take up the role of the primary airport of the south wing of the Randstad. The name of the airport was officially changed to Rotterdam The Hague (RTM) airport in February 2010. The strategy behind this was also to give a better image to the airport and make it more attractive to the customers and airlines. RTM is one of the five airports in and around Netherlands that ferry passenger across EU and the rest of the world. It is also one of the smallest in terms of passenger numbers with just over a million passengers per year. The airport belongs to the Schiphol group which also owns the Amsterdam airport and has a majority stake in the Eindhoven airport. RTM has not shown much growth over the years as had just crossed the one million mark a few years ago. Passenger & Freight Numbers The airport mainly operates business class airlines with a few low cost carriers. RTM is also the base of the low cost carrier Transavia. The introduction of this Amsterdam Schiphol Airport airline to RTM is the main reason the number of passengers have crossed the Passengers - 45 million million mark. The mail aim of the airport however remains to be a five star airport Freight - 1.5 million tonnes that carters to the need of the business class traveller. RTM is considered as one LEL Rotterdam The Hague Airport of the most easily navigable airport in Netherlands due to ease at which pasPassengers - 1 million sengers can board a plane. RTM is also used by several politicians and the royal Freight - 80 tonnes family due to its proximity to The Hague. Apart from catering to several business airlines, the airport is also home to a flying school and club. Eindhoven Airport AMS NRN


Passengers - 2.1 million Freight - N.A Maastricht Airport Passengers - 1.4 million Freight - N.A



Dusseldorf (Weeze) Passengers - 2.4 million Freight - N.A

Due to the business strategy of the of the airport, it’s looking at a catchment area which consist of Zuid Holland, parts of the Utrecht province, parts of Noord Holland, Zeeland and Brabant. The airport believes that there is a high potential of business travellers in this region that can use the airport for their travel needs. Even though RTM and AMS are owned by the same group the two airports are rivals in their own sense and function independent of each other.

United Kingdom

90 min (850 km)

3 Hours (1800 km)



The scale of operations at RTM are that of a regional scale. Flights taking off from RTM have a span of around three hours of flying time. RTM has excellent connections with London city airport and plans to expand their operation to other important business destinations like Madrid and Munich. Apart for business flights, the airport is also popular with chartered airlines that fly to popular tourists destinations like the Canary Islands, Morocco and Turkey. The opening of the east bloc in the early 1990’s made RTM a popular cargo hub. However, over the years the airport has seen sharp decline in cargo handling and has focussed mainly on passenger traffic.

Setting the context What is the position of the airport ?

South Wing and RTM

The airport is located on the northern fringe of the city of Rotterdam. It is around 7.5 km north west of the Rotterdam central station and 21 km from the Den Haag central station. The airport has a very strategic location, being in the centre of the south wing of the Randstad. Rotterdam The Hague Airport covers and area of 223 Ha and is located north of Rotterdam, between the development locations of polder Schieveen and polder Zestienhoven. The development area of RTM is bordered by the N209 Doenkade as northern border. At the boundaries of the eastern, western and southern sides, the boundaries follow the border of the airport terrain as set in the Aviation act (Luchtvaartwet). At the easten side this border is located at the ‘Bovendijk’. At the current industrial area ‘Hoog Zestinhoven ‘, the border shifts towards the west. At the southern side, the border i located at the canal (positioned in the line with ‘Woensdrechtstraat’). At the western side, the border is located at the ‘Vliegveldweg’ .


The Hague 501,725

Leiden University

Zoetemeer 121,580

Delft 96,168

Westland 100,000

CBD, Den Haag

Midden Delflland

Rotterdam 616,250

Greenport Westland Glasshouses

TU Delft University

Harbour CBD, Rotterdam Harbour Authority Recreational

Erasmus University

The South Wing The South Wing can distinguish itself as network city as a centre of governance and right knowledge and logistics in a Dutch landscape. The Identity and the competitiveness of the South Wing as well as benefiting these core qualities more visible. Den Haag as city government and as a location global legal organizations to develop and integrate a national centre of governance and law. The port of Rotterdam as the world continues to harbour the engine maritime logistics cluster A third priority is the further development and promotion of excellence in high technology, life science and ICT. The bioscience park Leiden and the Knowledge Boulevard A13 (Techno polis Delft - Rotterdam Schieveen) herein constitute the two crucial hotspots, with close relations to the three South Holland universities and fourth, the high agricultural clusters, greenhouses, growing bulbs and the tree and ornamentals. Den Haag and Rotterdam region together form the central urban network of the South Wing. Here are (inter) and national high urban qualities present. Joint and complementary to Den Haag and Rotterdam top qualities to compete with the Amsterdam region: world port, modern culture and architecture, international legal centre, government centre and a university. Between the two cities find a second university: TU Delft / Techno polis and Rotterdam Airport. A larger spatial coherence between Rotterdam and Den Haag would strengthen the region economically, politically and socially. Herein lies the emphasis on development of complementary economic top milieus, knowledge and cultural Top facilities. Is also working on the construction of rapid heart-to-heart connections (RandstadRail) between the two centres so the ‘time space’ between the centres is reduced. The enumeration of the above regional developments may eventually add an extra dimension give to RTM, as a regional airport in North Western Europe. RTM is strategically located between the two cities. the airport can relatively easily be connected to the regional public transport (RandstadRail) and even to the HSL. Besides the airport is knowledge-intensive activities planned in the polder Schieveen and Rotterdam North Fringe. This activity is associated with development of Techno polis in Delft Zuid. All that may give space to knowledge aimed at the development of advanced technology. The Knowledge Boulevard A13 is an important. The realization of the A4 and the regionalization of the A13/A16 and A13 are important conditions for this. RTM is not only geographically in the centre of the south wing, but also strategically. The airport is strategically located in the middle of some of the major economic, academic and political power houses of the south wing of the Randstad. The south wing is a cluster of 24 local councils comprising a population of 2 million habitants that contributes to nearly 20 percent of the GNP of The Netherlands.Den Haag which is not only the seat of power for the Dutch national government, is also home to the a large Central Business District near the central railway station. To the south, in the city of Rotterdam is the second largest business district in Netherlands after the Zuisas in Amsterdam. The development of the railway station and Kop van Zuid in the future will also increase the commercial floor space in the city. Apart from the economic strengths of the region, the south wing also is home to the Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University. These three universities together to form the A13 knowledge boulevard. The future for the knowledge boulevard is in the growth of the techno polis at Delft and the Schieveen nature and business park. Both these proposals are part of the plan for the distant future. The south wing, specially the Westland region is known for the glasshouses that produce and export vegetables and ornamental plants to rest of Europe and the world. At present all the export is done from Amsterdam Schiphol airport due to its excellent logistic capabilities. However in the future, the proximity to RTM could make the airport a better option. Connecting all these centres of economic, political and educational power houses to the airport will help in the growth of not only the airport but also of the south wing region.

Accessibility Highways Railways Light Rail (Randstad Rail)


A 13




A 20 A 16 A4

A 15

Accessibility (Private & Public) ‘After destination and price, accessibility is the most important factor in passengers’ choice of airport’. This is the philosophy that AMS follows in terms of connectivity to and from the airport. For this reason, the airport with the public transport providers have worked towards making the airport as accessible as possible during anytime of the day from any place in the country. This initiative has not only made the airport more accessible by public transport, but also reduced the number of cars arriving at the airport thereby reducing the carbon footprint. The case of RTM is slightly different though. The airport is located in the centre of a network of national and provincial highways that surround the airport. The main access to the airport from Rotterdam and rest of the country is via the A13 and N209. Since the airport is located on the northern fringe of the city, the accessibility to the airport is not affected by the local traffic on the highways. However with the construction of the New Rotterdam Ring on the N209, the access to the airport would not only be improved, but the volume of traffic on the roads would increase substantially. The A13 highway is the main connection between the cities of Rotterdam and The Hague passing by the airport, with the completion of the A4 highway by 2017, it is expected that the time between the two cities will reduce further more. The airport is located east of the A13 and north of the A20 highways. This location makes it very convenient to reach by private transport from Den Haag or Utrecht. The main entry to the airport is however from the N209 which is connected to the A13. At present the A13 is the main connection between Rotterdam and Den Haag and further north. It is believed that once the A4 is completed there would be an improvement in travel time between the two cities. At present the average travel time from Den Haag to RTM is around 20 minutes by car, from AMS to RTM is 40 minutes and from Rotterdam centre to RTM is 10 minutes. Considering the distance, the present travel time to the airport is quite good, thus making it the most popular option to reach the airport. The story is not quite the same when it comes to accessibility by public transport. The main problem the airport faces is that there is no direct public transport to it from anywhere but Rotterdam. While the global connectivity to Rotterdam central station is good, the connection between Rotterdam station and airport is something to be proud of. The cities of Den Haag and Rotterdam are connected by the Dutch Railway (NS) and the Randstad rail. While the railways is connected to the rest of the country the randstad rail connects the two main cities with smaller towns between them. There is a stop near the airport for passengers from the surrounding towns. There is a bus service that connects the airport with the station. The major problem here however is location of the airport terminal which is located 2.5 km away from the metro station thus making is difficult to access. The excellent Dutch highways system makes its the ideal choice for passengers to use for accessing the airport. However the use of cars increases the carbon footprint of the airport. The Randstad Rail on the other hand is a unpopular choice for passengers since there is a change to bus before reaching the terminal. Also the high cost of public transport makes sure there are few takers for this choice of transport.

Regional Landscape Administration

Greenport University Greenport


Harbour Authority Recreational Interview: Rob ter Horst Zuid Holland Province, Nature & Habitat

The Green Zone Another important spatial element around the airport is that of nature and landscape. The Schieveen polder located north of the runway and N209 provincial highway is part of the larger Midden Delftland region which is the green buffer between the cities of Den Haag and Rotterdam. The polder does not just hold importance in terms of nature, but also is important as a historic landscape. The Schieveen polder is believed to be nearly 700 years old and is considered as one of the oldest polders in the country. It is also a natural habitat for certain types of the protected species of birds such as the Lapwing and Spoonbill. This polder is frequented by the birds every year during the migration period. There have been instances of conflict between the birds and airport in the past. However, the conflicts have not been on a large scale or have caused any big problem to the birds environment or functioning of the airport. A part of the Schieveen polder is owned by the Rotterdam municipality. The earlier proposal for the business park was planned in the polder. The land lost due to the new intervention would have been compensated elsewhere in the Midden Delftland area and the industrial park would have high quality nature within it. However, this proposal was rejected by the residents of the polder claiming that there was too much nature planned in the polder. Eventually, the proposal of the business park was pushed to the distant future due to the economic crisis. It is estimated that work on this industrial park would only begin after the year 2030. At present the strategy is to keep the polder in its present state. Another threat to the landscape of this area is the expansion of the N209 from a provincial highway to that of a national highway. This would mean that from a four lane road, it would be expanded to a eight lane highway. The new road would become a part of the Rotterdam ring which would be connected to the A20/16 via a new tunnel. It is pretty clear that in the road would expand in the direction of the polder and not the runway. This would mean that there would be lesser land for birds and also that the volume of traffic and speed will be much higher than what exists right now. Another striking feature of the Midden Delftland area are the several hundred hectares of glass houses. The glass houses can be found in the Westland region and some parts of Delft and Zoetemeer. The glass houses once were the main cultivation area for vegetables and ornamental plants that were exported to various parts of Europe and the world. However over the years, the cultivation of vegetables has reduced substantially since growing ornamental plants has turned out to be more profitable business model. The plants and flowers are packed and sent to other parts of the world from AMS. AMS has excellent packaging and cold storage facilities and this makes it a preferred choice for transportation.

- In principle - There should be NO NET LOSS of land.

The Canadian Geese, Spoonbill and Lapwing birds are often found in the Schieveen polder. The birds have adapted to the noise and environment of the airport and the planes. However conflict between the two occurs from time to time. It is important that the conflict is minimised to prevent any loss of live and money

The six success factors for Amsterdam Schiphol ............... - Connectivity and Inter mobility (Air side and Land side) Well connected on both air and land side.

- Synergy between airport and regional economy Economic clusters related to international connectivity

- Location and opportunities (Physical location) Good cooperation between city, airport and airlines

- Public support and license to grow Keeping the people living around the airport in confidence

- Governance and strategy Ownership of airport, cooperation between airport and surrounding municipalities

- Quality and value creation Need to build a high quality image of the airport.

............. & where Rotterdam The Hague loses out ? - Connectivity and Inter mobility (Air side and Land side) Well connected on both air and land side.

- Synergy between airport and regional economy Economic clusters related to international connectivity

- Location and opportunities (Physical location) Good cooperation between city, airport and airlines

- Public support and license to grow Keeping the people living around the airport in confidence

- Governance and strategy Ownership of airport, cooperation between airport and surrounding municipalities

- Quality and value creation Need to build a high quality image of the airport.

The six success factors has helped AMS a long way in growing in the world and European air market. These factors are also meant to look at the overall good with the People Planet and Profit (PPP) model. It does not just look at the growth of the airport and the aviation industry, but also the benefits to the people living in the surrounding areas. The case of Rotterdam The Hague airport is not similar to that of AMS. Out of the six factors, RTM gains mainly on two factors. Out of the other four factors, it has a lot to work on for it to be an attractive destination for passengers and airlines, but also for the people living around the airport. The airport losses out mainly on four factors. The first being Public support and licence to grow. This is one of the most important factors for any airport to grow, without a licence to operate the airport would stagnant. In the case of RTM, the people living near the airport would are against the growth and therefore the regulator does not allow the licence to grow for it. The second issue that plagues the airport is that of connectivity. While the airport is located in a prime location, the public transport to the airport that is something which needs to be taken in account. While AMS has worked towards a comprehensive inter modal transport model which serves the passengers and the employees working at the airport, RTM lacks this. While accessing the airport with private transport is relatively easy, it is not a desirable option considering it increases the carbon footprint of the airport. The final issue that the airport faces is that of Synergy between airport and regional airport. RTM is looked at one of the potential economic horses of the south wing of Randsatad. This is not the ground condition though, while the new business park is now being constructed near the airport, this was something lacking for years. The airport did not have any direct contribution and connections to the region. It is something that needs to be looked into for the future if it has to develop as the regional gateway. RTM has a long way before it can clear the six goals to become a competitive airport in Netherlands. This thesis will look into how certain short term practical solutions can help in getting closer to the goal. While all the solution would be in the framework and scope of urban design and planning, some solutions have to be looked beyond the limitations of urban design and planning. What this thesis tries and avoid is long term academic solutions and strategies which would probably just remain on paper for the rest of its life. The thesis will look into the concept of PPP, People , Planet and Profit. The linking of the three issues of Noise, Connectivity and Synergy between airport and region with People, Planet and Profit. By doing so, it will be possible to improve the quality of the airport and develop it as a new transport node of the region.

The main aim of this thesis is to develop the airport as a strategic and sustainable urban node by developing on the existing and proposed projects in and around the airport. This project will try and resolve the issues with short term practical solutions for the airport and the surrounding area.

Planet - Connectivity People - Noise

Profit - Synergy

Issue of Noise Noise Contours Cross Path of planes Complaints

25 Ke 35 Ke

Cross path of smaller planes | Low flying training air crafts | flying club & training school @ aiport

Source: The Effect of Noise and Night Curfews on Regional Airport’s Capacity and Economic Value - TU Delft

Cost of noise at Rotterdam The Hague Airport Noise has always been the main concern of airports. Several operational measures such as night curfew and/or flight quota have been introduced at airports to reduce noise. Noise produced by aircraft maybe perceived as an annoyance by the community living nearby the airport. However, to airports, it means revenues flowing in for their business. Therefore, the value of noise can be viewed differently by different recipients. Airports need airlines to fly to end from their airports to generate business, and airports generate economic benefits to the communities, but aircraft produce externalities. The externalities generated from commercial flights have various Impacts on air quality, noise, water quality, fuel and energy consumption, waste and the ecology. Among these externalities, noise Issues have always been the biggest environmental concern and challenge for airports, because noise Is the most obvious Issue that can be Identified Immediately by the communities that live within the airport’s vicinity. The main obstruction to the growth and development of this airport is the Noise. Ever since the deregulation of airports in The Netherlands from the central government to the provincial government, the airport has faced several problems. From being shut down completely at one point to have restricted operations and night time curfews. At present the airport functions under strict guidelines from the provincial government in terms of noise. The airport has a noise cap which it cannot exceed. There is also the night curfew where no planes are allowed to start their engines. All these restrictions make it very difficult for the airport to grow. Due to political compulsions, it is highly unlikely that these rules would change for allowing the airport to grow. The noise contours has a two way restriction. The airport cannot grow in noise, and the surrounding areas cannot be developed in the inner noise contour and only restricted development is allowed within the outer ring. The noise is not just nuisance for people living around the airport, but also to the people living in the neighbouring municipalities of Rotterdam. The airport has to calculate the noise level of In yearly flights and has to ensure that the annual accumulated noise footprints did not exceed the zone; otherwise they have to pay fine to the government. Besides the noise cap, Rotterdam The Hague Airport itself has taken several operational measures such as night curfew between 23:00-07:00, no engine run-up between 18:00-08:00 unless It Is authorised by Airport Authorities and impose noise surcharge for noisy aircraft to reduce noise at Its airport. RTM is not only a hub to several regional airlines, but also home to a flying school and club. The flight path of the smaller planes is also of great nuisance to the residents of the area. Even though the planes do not create as much noise as the larger passenger planes, they fly mainly around the airport in loops and at a much lower altitude than the larger planes. It is quite clear that RTM cannot grow in noise. The issue of noise has to be first sorted out before more airlines can start landing and taking off from here. At present noise is turning out to be very expensive for the airport and the airlines. This can only be resolved either by shifting out the housing that come in the flight path or by shifting the airport and its functions to a different location. Noise restrictions are Important to ensure that the quality of life of the community is being protected but on the other hand regulators should evaluate the effectiveness of the regulation and operational measures and measure their impacts on various aspects, such as economics, social, environmental and political. Therefore, noise at the regional airport needs to be managed wisely, because It has different value to the community happiness, airport revenues, airlines revenues, passengers’ satisfaction, and economics of the regions. If the decision made Is made on ones biases, then the benefits and adverse Impacts are distributed unevenly between airports, airlines, region and communities, and If that happens, then the value of noise at the airport might be perceived differently, at that time.

RTM Airport 25 minutes

Den Haag

Private Mobility

Rotterdam CS

AMS Schiphol 45 minutes

30 minutes / Bus

7 minutes

26 minutes

10 minutes/Bus

High Speed Line

Randstad Rail

Netherlandse Spoorwegen

Public Vs Private transport

20 minutes 30 minutes / Bus

20 minutes

10 minutes 40 minutes

Good connection at a national scale | main problem at local scale

The problems of the public transportation Nearly 90 percent of the passenger and employee traffic at RTM comes and leaves using their own mode of transportation. This is not surprising considering that most people in Netherlands prefer using their own cars instead of public transportation due to convenience and cost. In the case of RTM, this is even more amplified considering that the airport lies in the middle of excellent network of highways and below ordinary local public transportation system. The airport has nearly 2500 parking slots under its ownership, this is considered very less due to high demand for parking space at the airport. RTM also has one of the lowest parking fees in The Netherlands making it even more attractive for passengers to use their own car. The fact that the Dutch highways do not charge vehicles for using the roads make it even easier to use one’s own vehicle. The main problem the airport faces is that there is no direct public transport to it from anywhere but Rotterdam. While the global connectivity to Rotterdam central station is good, the connection between Rotterdam station and airport is something to be proud of. The cities of Den Haag and Rotterdam are connected by the Dutch Railway (NS) which takes and average time of 25 minutes. AMS and Rotterdam are connected by the High Speed Line (HSL) and the travel time is around 20 minutes. The problem however is in the connections from Rotterdam station to the airport. At present there is only one bus line (Line 33) that is operated from the city to the airport. Since this is not a dedicated bus for the airport, the average travel is around 30 minutes. The bus passes through several neighbourhoods before finally terminating at the airport. Even thought the bus operates at 20 minute intervals during most of the day, the long route makes it an unattractive options for passengers who use this airport.

- Upgrading the N209 will improve the accessibility to the airport - Local accessibility continues to be poor The second option of public transport to the airport from Rotterdam and Den Haag central station is the Randstad Rail. The light rail network connects the city centres of Rotterdam and Den Haag with the peripheral towns of the two cities. The closest station to the airport is Meijersplein which takes around 7 minutes from Rotterdam central station and 25 minutes from Den Haag central station. However, from here there has to be a transfer to bus to get to the airport. The bus has to cover a distance of 2.5 km which takes around 10 minutes. It is quite clear that there are multiple options to get from various parts of the south wing of the Randsatd to Rotterdam. However, the problem starts in the connections between Rotterdam centre and the airport. With just one bus service, which takes close to 30 minutes to reach its destination; better, faster and more efficient public transport options are required over here.

Local Conditions - Land uses

Residential Commercial Industrial Recreational

Local land use conditions The development around the airport in the north of the city has not been of prime importance to the city. The area is characterised by accidental juxtaposition of different features, all of different uses without any spatial relationship. The airport is surrounded by low rise residential housing, car sales and demolition yards, sport fields and allotments. All these functions over the years have continued to grow independent of each other. As mentioned earlier, the airport was constructed on the Zestienhoven polder in the north west edge of Rotterdam. Over the years specially during the post war period where the city was undergoing a massive growth and construction phase, several housing clusters were built around the airport. These houses continue to remain there till date with more new housing planned in the future. the housing cluster are mainly single or double storey due to the height restrictions from aircraft movements. The housing cluster are spread all around the airport in the neighbourhoods of Overschie, Blijdorp and Schibroek. These clusters are the main source of noise complaints against the airport and aircraft movement. It is estimated that for every flight that lands or takes off from the airport, there are at least two complaints from the neighbouring communities. Since the majority of the land around is residential, there are several other activities related to the housing around the airport. One of them is the Park Zestienhoven which is centrally located around the communities. The other use is the large sports fields that run along the airport’s south edge. The area around the airport is also dotted by several industrial functions which have absolutely no relation to the airport or its functions. There are a handful used car sales and demolition garages around the airport. Another new industrial function that has come up around the airport is that of large warehouses. These warehouses have come up only in the last decade and have no relation to the airport. Both the above industrial activities attract heavy vehicular traffic from mid size trucks to large 18 wheel container trucks. The road infrastructure however is not designed to handle such large vehicles and an sometimes slow the movement of vehicular traffic around the area. Rotterdam The Hague business park is the latest and related addition around the airport. Formerly known as the RTM Airpark, which was proposed on the Schieveen polder. The new business park however is built around the airport terminal and not on the polder. The present business park is a long term investment which is expected to go on till 2025. This park is to house new office space of nearly 200,000 square meters, and other related uses along with it. As an overall development strategy of the airport, it is proposed that apart from the landside development, there would also be the airside development. This new intervention at the airport also hope to improve the accessibility to this airport and the new business park by private and public transport.

The area is characterised by accidental juxtaposition of different features, all of different uses without any spatial relationship.

Reports & proposals on RTM

The paper work on Rotterdam The Hague’s future After the opening of the markets in the eastern bloc in the early 1980’s, Rotterdam airport had seen substantial growth. This opened up a lot of opportunities for developing the airport and the surroundings. Several reports and design proposals were prepared by the government and planning agencies and firms. Some of the earliest reports prepared in the late 1980’s such as the ‘Rotterdam Noord Rand’ came up with several design and planning solutions for the airport, which included relocating of the terminal building, connecting the airport with the High speed train line, development of the surrounding areas. Most of the proposals remained on paper and were never executed due to the long term visions of the proposals and then lack of will to develop the airport. Apart from the several reports prepared in the 80’s, the Dutch government and the Zuid Holland province government have also come up with several proposals to improve the conditions at the airport. One of the important actions was to change the name from Rotterdam airport, to Rotterdam The Hague Airport. This was done in order to improve the image of the airport and make it more attractive. While the move might have worked, not much as changed on ground since then. Several reports have mentioned the importance of RTM for the Randstad and The Netherlands and the importance of having specialised regional hubs apart from a main hub like AMS. At present the ambitions of RTM is to get to nearly 1.8 million passengers per year. This however can be achieved only if the licence to operate is given to the airport by the provincial and national government. This is highly unlikely to happen considering the problems the neighbourhoods have with the airport and its operations. While all the reports including the ones prepared by the government speak highly of the airport and its future, not much is spoken about what needs to be done in order to achieve that goal. The airport by many is looked clearly as a economic generator that can help in boosting the local economy of the south wing. The growth of RTM will also help in the development of AMS even thought the two work independent of each other. Considering the two airports have totally different operations, functions and passenger loads, they can still work together as they are specialised in their own field. While 70 percent of the passenger traffic is transit and is mainly inter-continental, there is a good chance some part of the 30 percent share of passengers can be shifted to RTM which is only a regional hub. Thus giving more room for transit passengers at AMS. The Zuid Holland province has major plans for the development of the airport. Before that can be done, some ground conditions such as noise and accessibility need to be addressed. Several reports and design proposals have been prepared in the past showing the possibilities for the areas surrounding the airport. With the deregulation of the European aviation industry, the Zuid Holland province has looked to promote RTM as the new regional hub for the south wing and The Netherlands. However ground conditions have prevented this from happening as expected.

The SWOT story While several reports and feasibility studies have been made for the airport over the years, the story remains pretty much the same in terms of the various possibilities which are however always over shadowed by the weakness of the airport. Due to the presence of AMS has the main hub for The Netherlands the problems at RTM have never been addressed with much detail. Like any other project of this scale there is always a SWOT of it. The location of RTM is one of its greatest strengths. Located centrally in the south wing of the Randstad between the cities of Rotterdam and Den Haag, the airport is ideally suitable for expansion. The growing passengers and airlines at AMS ask for the need to a buffer for it. Also, more regional airlines and LCC ask for a dedicated hub apart from the main airport. It are these strengths that need to be converted to opportunities for the airport, neighbourhood, city, region and country. A new hub for the south wing will not only help in the development of the metropolitan region of Den Haag and Rotterdam but also the A13 ‘knowledge boulevard’ of the three universities of Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam. In the case of RTM, the weaknesses over shadow the strengths. The main obstacle in RTM’s growth is that of Noise. With nearly 1500 complaints per year from the residents living around the airport and flight paths of approaching planes, the airport works under restrictive conditions. This is one of the main weakness of the airport. The cost of noise at RTM is high and has never allowed it to grow beyond a certain point. The second important weakness of the airport is its accessibility by public transport. While Rotterdam is easily accessible from rest of the country by private and public transport, the case is quite the opposite when is come to accessibility from Rotterdam centre to the airport by public transport. The poor public transport connections make it an unattractive option for lot of passengers. The area around the airport is dotted with unattractive and non related land use types around the airport. AMS and RTM are owned by the same group, yet they are rivals in their own sense. With AMS being the largest airport in the country, with a catchment area of nearly 200 kilometres, RTM does not stand much of a chance to compete. The threats to the birth and growth of the airport city at RTM are more global rather than local. The global eco¬nomic meltdown which has reached Netherlands would be the main reason for the project not to even start. Also, the shortage of fuel and increasing costs would make flying a lot more expensive and lot less attractive. It is also estimated that 10 percent of the greenhouse gases in the environment are contributed by the airline industry. Tougher laws and heavy fines against old polluting aircraft could derail the aviation industry. The present law by the EU to charge every airline using the EU airspace for its carbon footprint could dent the industry in a big way. At present the airport and the airlines are deregulated. A political change of non cooperation between countries and a regulated market will stall any type of growth of the industry. It is quite obvious that RTM has a long way to go before it can be reckoned to be an important regional hub for Netherlands. The issue of Noise remains to be the main local problem towards the growth of the airport. The shortage of aviation fuel and the new carbon tax to be introduced in 2013 are problems at a larger scale which could derail the aviation industry in general. However what needs to be worked on is that the industry is predicted to grow in the coming years with newer aircrafts coming into the market. This is positive sign for the airport since it could be the catalyst for growth for the region.

What does the future look like ? Looking at the SWOT, it is quite evident that RTM has a lot of issues plaguing it and hindering its growth. The future of the airport will not only depend on resolving them, but also current European and global trends. At present the world is going through some tough economic crisis, while it is in recovery mode right now, it would be quite a while before the economy can get back to its normal functioning. The world economic crisis and later the euro zone crisis have had a impact on the political establishment of the countries. The economic instability has been seen in the political front too. The scenarios for the airport are based on two factors. Economic situation/conditions and on cross border relations between the European countries. Keeping these two conditions four scenarios are made out of which two (scenario 2 & 4) are used for the thesis. Scenario 01 – High economic growth and poor cross border relations In this scenario the economy is in a good state after recovering from the global economic slump of 2008. People have money to spend for travel and leisure. The political and economic cooperation between the EU nations is at an all time low. Cross border trade and movement is on the decline in the EU. This would lead to a high demand for air travel since people have the money to spend but due to the difficulty in travelling the supply is very low. There would be no growth in the aviation industry and a single airport model would work well for the industry. Scenario 02 – High economic growth and good cross border relations In this scenario the economy is in a good state after recovering from the global economic slump of 2008. People have money to spend for travel and leisure. The scale of the European Union becomes larger Mediterranean Union. This would lead to a high demand and supply in the aviation industry. There would be an increase in high and low cost carriers fuelled by high passenger volumes in the business and leisure sectors. This would lead to a demand in new regional hubs. Scenario 03 – Low economic growth and good cross border relations In this scenario the economy is in a bad state. The economic meltdown of 2008 continues into the future no sight of recovering. Business and leisure travel is limited. The good cooperation between nations leads to open skies policy. High demand for LCC due to the lack of money in the market. Decline in Business class and regular airlines. Smaller regional airports with lesser airport fees in demand. Scenario 04 – Low economic growth and poor cross border relations In this scenario the economy and the relations between nations are at all time low. There is no signs of recovery and every country is for itself. There is a low demand and supply in the industry. Major drop in passenger numbers. Larger carriers monopolise the skies. Single airport model followed. Multiple airport model not a viable option. This project will deal with mainly two scenarios. One where the economy and cooperation are at an all time high and another where the economic growth is poor, with poor cross border relations. The two scenarios which are totally opposite to each other will have different spatial consequence for the region.

Funding & development regulations actions

Airport Capacity





aircraft noise




Air Travel

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litigations political action

Understanding the players & methodology of work. In any airport function it is important to know the set of stakeholders that govern the functioning of the airport. In the case of RTM like AMS, the Rijkswaterstaat is the main authority which gives the licence to operate. For RTM however the licence to operate is restricted due to the various noise complaints from the residents living around the airport. The residents and the governing authority are the strongest party in the group which decide the functioning and the future of the airport. RTM on the other hand is not the strongest player in the pack. Due to its small passenger and nonexistent cargo numbers, it is never in a place to negotiate its business goals with the governing authority. The airlines and customers are based on the demand and supply relation, can provide and take only as much as the airport is allowed to supply. If the airport is allowed to fly more planes in and out, then more airlines and passengers would prefer to use this airport. What is required by the airport, is to make itself more attractive by working on improving the quality of life around the around by trying and reducing the source and sink of noise. In order to do this, it there are local spatial interventions that need to be undertaken. While some intervention and changes can be done by using design as a tool, most of the solutions are beyond the scope of urban design and planning. Apart from the issues of noise, improvements needs to be made in terms of accessibility to and from the airport. The reduction in the noise complaints and better accessibility will not only attract more airlines and passengers but also help in the image building of the airport. It is only once after there is an improvement in the ground conditions, that the next level of interventions will make a lot more sense. Making the airport more attractive itself should act as a catalyst for the environs of the airport. The Rotterdam The Hague Business Park and the Schieveen Nature and Business Park will also have a larger impact on the airport and the surroundings once the base conditions have been worked and improved upon. The present business and planning strategy will have to be re looked into to have a better synergy with the airport and the city. Even if the passenger numbers were not to improve beyond the terminal’s capacity, the airport and the surrounding areas would be a much more attractive destination for the cities of the south wing. What is required is the improvement of the ground conditions at the airport and the surroundings in terms of the airport operations and land side developments.



The regulating authority, municipality and the community are the strongest stakeholders in the case of RTM. The lack of demand for RTM due to issues of Noise and accessibility make the airport a small player in the system. The airlines and customers are only based on demand and supply of the airport. There is a need to make a RTM a stronger player by improving on the local problems that it faces there by also improving the living conditions around the airport.



Elephant grass to reduce ground vibrations 3X X

Ground ridges (H=5m, W=15m) Use of ground ridges reduce the engine noise, whereas the Elephant grass reduce the ground noise. It is also an excellent source of bio fuels 100m


Visual connectivity an important aspect for the farmers and residents of the Schieveen polder. Noise from the highway a major concern for farmers

Trees are not only used as a design and landscaping element. They are an excellent way to reduce noise from air crafts, thereby improving the overall quality of space and life around the airport. The trees are also a source of bio fuels therefore have a double benefit.

Design interventions - Noise, the PEOPLE perspective. It is clear that the airport cannot grow due to the issue of noise. It is this issue that needs to be resolved first before improvement in the number of aeroplane can be seen. It must however be made clear that while certain physical design interventions around the airport can help in reducing the problem of noise for people living around the airport, most interventions are far beyond the scope of urban design and planning. Certain assumptions need to be made on the future of aviation technology such as the fact that aeroplanes will get a lot quieter than what they are today. Also advancement in building technology and materials will help in insulating the inhabitants from the outside aeroplane noise. The most important thing however is the fact that noise is a subjective issue. People living around the airport over the years would get used to the effects of noise during the day time, this would also mean that with noise from planes reducing in the future and the resisting capacity of the community increasing the complaints on noise would reduce a bit. The way the noise spreads from flying aeroplanes can also be changed by changing the flight patterns of the aircraft. Different landing and taking off flight paths will help in reducing the spreading of noise around the airport. These are however measures that are far beyond the domain of urban design and planning but definitely need to be looked into if conditions around the airport have to improve. The noise cap on the airport have restricted the number of passenger air movements to and from the airport. Apart from the larger passenger planes that contrib¬ute towards the noise in surrounding areas, it is also the smaller trainer aircrafts that are a major cause of nuisance to the residents. If the training operations were to carried either over the Midden Delftland region or south of Rotterdam in the Hoekse Waard island. The shifting of the training operations will reduce the noise annoyance sub¬stantially and would also allow for more passenger aircrafts to the airport. Apart from the noise created by the taking off and landing of flights at the airport, a substantial amount of the noise is from the ground when planes are landing and taking off. The movement of the planes on the tarmac are also a major cause of ground vibrations. Several interventions are required around the runway in order to reduce the noise from spreading. One of the most common intervention is the construction of ‘Ground Ridges’ along the length of the runway. These ridges help absorbing the noise and also reflects it upwards. The installation of ground ridges along the length of the runway will also help in containing the noise. In the case of RTM, where there is lot of open space around the runway the noise can easily spread. Using of low cost sustainable methods can help in reducing the effects of noise, but also improve the image of the airport. The use of Elephant grass to reduce ground noise from planes is one such method. Elephant grass which is a native of Africa is an excellent noise insulator. It can help in reducing noise by up to 10 db. While the initial capital is high at nearly 5000 Euros per hectare, the output cost of selling the grass as bio fuels is 2500 Euros per hectare. With a life span of nearly 20 years, the crop can be a excellent alternative. Also the physical nature of the crop keeps the birds away. With one of the major stakeholders in the Schieveen polder being farmers, growing of Elephant grass instead of their usual crop could be a great incentive for not only the farmers, but also for the airport. The use of special trees not only help in the beautification of any area, in the case of RTM planting of certain types of special trees help in reducing the noise from the planes. It is important to note that trees with dense foliage will reduce noise, it will also attract a lot of birds closer to the airstrip. This is not the most desired situation for an airport. In the case of AMS only certain type of soft wood trees are grown closer to the terminal and airstrips. The nature of the trees make them an attractive landscape element, but the nature of the trees makes sure that no birds sit or nest on them. Trees with dense foliage such as Oak, Poplar and Willow are the most common varieties used for noise absorption. These trees are also excellent sources of bio fuel there by making them more attractive to plant.

Air side Land side Multiple buildings levels with sound absorbing /reflecting facades will help in reducing the effects of noise

Existing building could be faced with green facades to reduce the effect of noise. New building facades need to be designed with sound absorbing / reflecting materials

The use of multiple runways is the most common way to distribute the noise from planes. Both RTM and the city could be benefit from the use of more than one runway.

RTM is a case of a clean slate. The fact that surrounding areas are un-built and are still on paper in the planning and designing stages gives it a opportunity to start from scratch and relook at its development strategy. In the case of RTM there is still a possibility of reducing the effects of noise further. What needs to be done is to develop a spatial strategy that is not only best suited for the airport and its functions, but something that can also help in improving the quality of life around the airport. Noise at airports work in clear source and sink method. The source being the aeroplanes and sink being the places where the sound from the source spreads to. The positioning of the new buildings around the airport will help in dispersing the sound. The fact 80 percent of the land around the airport is still vacant gives us an opportunity to look at buildings to help in reducing the effects of aircraft noise. As per the proposals of the Rotterdam The Hague business park, certain area is for distribution and storage facilities. The physical nature of such buildings makes it an ideal choice to have them located closer to the airstrip. This would not only give easy access for vehicles to the air strip but also the large windowless facades of the buildings could help in dispersing the noise. Like in AMS, the facades could be made with a corrugated design to help in dispersion of noise. These buildings could act as a second line of defence from noise. The existing buildings around the airport can either be retrofitted with the same material or can have a new green facade to absorb the noise. The position of the buildings is also an important factor in reducing the noise effects. It is important that the buildings are not placed in a straight line. They need to be placed in such a way that sound waves do not pass uninterrupted. What is required is for the sound be diffused as much as possible. The use of built and landscape elements will help in improving the quality of life around the airport. The most common and simple interventions adopted by airports around the world, specially AMS has been to use more than one runway for their operations. The multiple runways not only help in increasing the passenger and airline traffic but mainly help in distribution of noise. AMS is an excellent example of the use of multiple runways for its operations.The fact that RTM is located right next to the N209 and Schieveen polder, gives it an opportunity to expand with new runways. The option of using multiple runways for RTM has been mentioned in several reports and future design proposals. Ground Ridges Elephant Grass Landscaping Built form

Multiple interventions need to made around the airport to improve the noise conditions. Most other interventions are related to changes in the aviation industry

Changing of access to the airport to N471 will help in the better flow of traffic along the new Rotterdam ring road. N 209 N 209

N 471

N 471

A 13

A 13

The new ring road will bring the airport within its limits. Existing it all the way to the A4 will help in improving the connections between the cites of Rotterdam and Den Haag.

N 209

A 20 A 16 A 16



A 15

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Design interventions - Accessibility, the PLANET perspective. Nearly 80 percent of the passengers and employees coming to RTM use their own private mode of transport. The main reasons being the excellent road network, no toll on use of the Dutch highway network, the poor local public transport system to the airport and finally the low cost of parking. Most airports around the world account for nearly half their profits from parking fees and other miscellaneous activities. The same is the case for RTM, however their lower parking fees is compared to AMS is considered the main reason for the use of private transportation. The airport, located on the northern fringe of Rotterdam with the runway running parallel to the N209 is easily accessible by public transport. The problem however lies in the main entry to the airport for the highway network. At present the main entry and exit way to the airport is from A13 to N209 and then into Vliegveldweg, which is off the N209. To get to the airport there are two main intersections at these roads. This causes the traffic to slow at short intervals thus causing a funnel effect. While the intersection between the A13 and N209 is being handled in the expansion of the highway, the intersection of N209 and the airport entry will continue to exists. What is really necessary, is to re look into the Dutch road network policy. At present since vehicles do not have to pay for using the highway network, it is frequently used by local traffic to move from one part of the city to the other end. The inclusion of slower traffic with the fast moving traffic reduces the average speed on the highways and is also one of the primary reasons for traffic jams on the highways. This is however a policy lever initiative which would be required to be taken up at a national level instead of a local level. At a local scale, it is required to look at other alternatives to enter the airport. It is necessary for the traffic on the A13 and N209 to flow freely without many intersections at close proximity to one another. It is also necessary to not only to look at the expansion of the N209 till the A13, but rather should be extended all the way to A4 via Overschie and Krekbuurt. The connection between the A4 and A13 will help in distribution of national traffic and also allow for multiple access routes to the city and airport. The expansion of the N209 from a provincial highway to a national one and making it a part of the new Rotterdam Ring would bring the airport inside the ring road of the city. This would make the airport even more accessible by private transport. This would also mean that since the ring would have more traffic than before, the entry points to the airport would be clogged further. It is important to make the sure that the new ring road is connected to the A4 highway. This would improve the connections between the A13 and !4 thereby giving more alternatives to travel between Den Haag and Rotterdam. At a much local scale, it would mean that the existing entry to the airport via N209 will have to closed and the main entry to the airport would be from the N471. By doing this the traffic coming from the city centre can avoid using the highway network and rather use the city roads. While changing the entry from N209 to the N471 sounds like a much better option in the future, the physical capacity of the road will however need to be increased over time. At present his entry is mainly used by the residents living around the airport and heavy vehicles that transport goods to the distribution centres. With the extra load of nearly 2 million passengers and the new business park with close to 15,000 employees coming in everyday, the road will have to upgraded to carry the extra load of private and pubic transportation.

Aerobuses are a common mode of public transport for most cities around Europe. Larger hubs such as FRA and AMS have high speed train terminals with the airport connecting passengers with the high speed train network.

A new east west connection north of the A20 will further strengthen the public transport of the city. The line would connect the north-eastern and north-western neighbourhoods of the city connecting via the airport. The construction of the tram would also mean that the infrastructure can be shared by the Randstad rail, thus giving the airport a direct connection with Den Haag and other satellite towns. The connection of De Trep with Schiedam Centrum would mean that passengers can bypass Rotterdam central station thereby reducing the passenger load at the main station.

The public transportation system has not much to boast about as the roads when it come to accessibility to the airport. At the scale of the south wing or even the randstad, there is an excellent public transportation system connecting the major cities and towns. The NS (Dutch railways) and the Randstad Rail are excellent modes of public transport between the cities of Rotterdam and Den Haag. But, when it comes to accessibility to the airport from either of the cities, the story does not read the same. While a car ride from Rotterdam central station to the airport can take upto 10 minutes, a bus ride takes at least 30 minutes to get to the airport. Using the metro to the station closest to the airport takes around 7 minutes, but a change over to a bus adds up another 10 minutes of travel time. The lack of a dedicated public transport system to the airport encourages people to use their own vehicles. At present only around 600 passengers used the bus system to get to and from the airport. This is a clear indication that something serious needs to be done to get more people to use the bus. One of the most practical and money saving measure would be to merge the two bus routes into one. Instead of having one bus bring passengers from the Rotterdam central station and another bus from the metro station and terminating them at the airport, a single bus line could carter to both the central and metro station. It would also make a lot more sense if the bus would be extended all the way south to the business district at Kop Van Zuid. A dedicated bus line to the airport is the most common options world over, especially when there is no train line available. The new bus line would not only connect the two business districts in Rotterdam with the airport in a faster way, but also connect them to one another within the city. Once the business park at the airport is completed, the dedicated bus line would be a much more viable option to ferry passengers and employees in a faster way. Having a dedicated public transport system for the airport would also help in building its image. Making a change in just in the system however might just not be enough to encourage people to use it. What is also required is also policy measures to reduce the use of private transport to the airport. One way of doing this would be by increasing the parking fees at the airport for car users and also by giving incentives to employees for not bringing their car to work. The use of toll booths on highways will also reduce the use of local traffic on national roads. This may bring in extra money to develop new infrastructure, but also save a lot in the future from money lost in traffic jams. Similar initiatives are also launched by the airport operators themselves, particularly those with an entrepreneurial business outlook — operators like the BAA or the Schiphol Croup, who are experienced in integral airport development concepts. They have set up their own local transport services to improve the connections to the population centres where the airport workforce lives, and to guarantee the recruitment of employees. This is an increasingly difficult task, as airport staff housing can be very far away from the airport. The growth of the airport and the surrounding areas in the future could also mean that a new mass transport system could be thought about. The main mass transport system in Rotterdam is the tram and metro network that spans all across the city except for the Zeiestenhoven area. This is also because of the fact that this part of town is not fully developed and the density does not make having a mass transport system over here a viable option. However for the future, with the development of the business park coming up and the several other housing projects coming up, a new tram line connecting De Terp on the east of Rotterdam with Scheidam on the west via Schiebroek, Airport and Overschie. The new connection will also make Schiedam centrum station a larger multi modal hub, thereby taking off some load from Rotterdam central station. The tram line would also add a new link north of the A20 which has been missing over the years.

The Superbus story While the better connections with Rotterdam can be achieved within the next few years since it is a policy driven change on the part of the airport, municipality and the transport company, the direct connections from the CBD and political power house in Den Haag cannot be achieved soon unless there is a more out of the box approach. Currently there is a proposal to extend the tram line from Den Haag to Delft all the way to Rotterdam. The tram line would connect the University at Delft further on with the Technopolis then on to the airport and ending at Rotterdam. The tram lie might be a good idea within the town limits of Delft, but beyond that point it is not as useful since it would have to compete with the three other faster modes of transport of road, rail and metro. The addition of the tram line would only be a burden on the landscape of the region. What is really required is a more personalised solution for the specific stakeholders in the south wing. The Superbus project developed by TU Delft could be a possible option on making the airport more accessible by a public transport. The main infrastructure required for the Superbus is a dedicated right of way on the existing highway network. The opening of the A4 by 2017 will help in distributing the road traffic between the A4 and A13. This will give a opportunity to have a dedicated lane in the existing highway network. RTM could act as a base for the city of Rotterdam. The superbus would connect the various power houses of the south wing. It could either work on a scheduled time or depending on the needs of the clients. The addition of the Superbus to the airports profile would also help in improving the image of the airport.

With already three existing fast mobility infrastructure connecting Den Haag and Rotterdam. Adding the new tram line is not such viable option. The Superbus could work out as a specialised solution for the airport connecting with the rest of the South Wing.

The business park needs to be planned both in space and time to have better synergy with the surroundings areas.

Several other new residential and business communities have been proposed around the airport for the future. The additions will help boost the image of the airport and surrounding areas.

Synergy between airport and local economy, the PROFIT perspective An airport city is, above all, a business strategy on the part of the airport operator, aimed at cashing in on the business opportunities created by its operations and the important function it provides in land side transport networks. Operators use it as a label for indicating their new business outlook: they are not only facilitating air traffic, but are also offering commercial services. An airport city also involves regional development. An airport city does not stand alone. It is not detached from the airport surroundings, but is part of a broader regional strategy that orients itself towards the land side traffic function of the airport, and intends to take advantage of the spin-offs from the airport. In terms of territorial definition, the airport city is, in principle, the more or less dense cluster of operational, airport-related activities, plus other commercial and business concerns, on and around the airport platform. However, this cluster is called an airport city only if it shows the qualitative features of a city (density, access quality, environment, services). The Rotterdam The Hague business park is an intervention at the airport that will bring it one step closer to achieving its goal of synergy between the airport and the regional economy. The business park which has been on paper for quite a while is finally being built with the first few office spaces being built and sold. The present strategy for the business park is to have nearly 90,000 square meters of new office space to be created along with 50,000 square meters of distribution facilities and 2000 square meters of retail space. All this new floor space will roughly add up the number of employees from roughly 1000 employees that are directly associated with the airport to another 4000 that will be associated with the new business park and its miscellaneous facilities. As mentioned earlier, the land around the airport is an accidental juxtaposition of several unrelated land uses. There are horse riding schools, packaging and distribution hubs, car breaking yards, low rise residential blocks and some commercial floor spaces. The new business park is a way of setting things right around the airport. however it is important to relook the development strategy of the business park. At present, most of the new office space is being constructed near the terminal. This is mainly because of demands from the real estate agency. Since RTM is a case of a clean slate, it is important that this strategy is rethought and a new one worked out. What might make more sense is to start to develop the business park from close to the Meijersplein metro station. The relocating of the business park will also give more room around the terminal to make any other changes. Also the proximity to the metro station will make the business park more accessible by public transportation. The location of the various land uses can be as per the requirements of reducing the effects of noise for the area. Also with the new entry point changing from the N209 to the N471, the relocation will make it even more accessible.

Location of cafes and restaurants

Schieveen Industrial Park

Location of pubs

The relocation of the Schieveen nature and business park to the side of the airport will not only help in lifting the image of RTM but also make the business park more accessible by private and public transport

The relocation would also mean that a different approach can be adopted for the polder areas, something which is more acceptable by the farmers living there.

Location of supermarkets

Apart from the business park being proposed around the airport, there are several new housing projects that are to be coming up in the future. Since the 1980’s there has been pressure to close the airport and develop the land for new housing projects. Even thought the Dutch population is on the decline over the years, the demand for housing is on the increase due to more single member houses. Some of the housing projects are already underway with people already living in them. A closer look at the existing social and economical fabric of the area around the airport, reveals that the Zeistenhoven areas lacks certain basic public hang out places such as supermarkets, restaurants, pubs, cafe’s and cinema theatres. This is also because of the fact that there is not enough demand for such places due to small number of residential units. After the completion of the business park and new residential buildings coming up around, it is important that these missing public spaces be introduced into the development. Like the missing east-west public transport link, this area lacks the kind of public spaces that is common in Rotterdam and other cities. in order to have more harmonious kind of development for the future, it is very important to integrate these kind of public spaces with the business park and the new residential development. Another important addition in the future to the airport surrounding would be that of the Schieveen nature and science park. Considering the investment climate in the country it is highly unlike to come up any time before the year 2025. The proposal of this park was to be built on the Schieveen polder. It was to have a right balance of nature and buildings integrated in the site. This proposal was however rejected by the residents mainly farmers living in the Schieveen polder. Their main complaint towards this development was that there was too much nature proposed. While ‘Nature’ is looked as a positive term for the people living in the city, the meaning is not the same for the farmers. It is their belief that if too much room is given for nature, it may be a cause of spreading malaria and other water borne diseases. What would also be interesting in the future, is to relocate the nature and science park to the side of the airport instead of the polder. The new science park will have to be accommodated with the airport’s business park. By doing so, not only will the polder be saved from any construction and can be used as a flood protecting polder, but the science park would be better accessed by public and private transport. The introduction of the science park will bring in a different kind of multi culture environment into the area. What is important to know that, while all the new development is being brought in, the old non related activities need to be slowly replaced. While there are several new development proposals for the Zestienhoven polder area for the future including the business park and residential complex, the area lacks certain basic requirements that would help in building up a better image of the surroundings. The maps on the left (Top to bottom) show the location of Supermarkets, Pubs & restaurants and movie theatres in the city of Rotterdam. It is quite obvious that the area around the airport lacks such kind of public spaces and the introduction of these activities will also liven up the area.

24:00 Airport

07:00 - 23:00


20:00 - 08:00


08:00 - 20:00 Residential

00:00 - 24:00 Live, Work, Play & Travel | 24 Hr live-work cycle

The lack of activities around the airport and restricted timings for the airport to work has meant that nearly 80 percent of the spaces around the airport are totally dead post 20:00 hrs. With the new business park coming up while the area will be a lot more active during the working hours, but the story will remain the same in the late evenings and night. What is really required is a mix of various activities but with different working hours. As mentioned earlier, it is more suitable to also introduce residential development into the area in order to give it more life. The residential part could be located on the upper floors of the building, followed by the commercial floor space in the intermediate floors finally with the retail and hospitality spaces in the ground floors opening out directly into the street. Having the residential development on the upper floors would also make them more secure and it would mean having eyes on the streets during the night time. The commercial spaces would have a working span of maximum of 12 hours. From 08:00 to 20:00 hrs. Considering the pear traffic from 07:00-09:00 hrs and in the evening from 18:00 to 20:00. After this it is expected that most office places would remain shut for the night. While the retail spaces in the ground floor could have the same timings as the offices, some supermarkets could be open longer to meet the demand of workers heading home. The hospitality spaces could work in a totally different time schedule. Considering the main client base could be the people working and living around the neighbourhood, these spaces could open and close at a much later time in the day. Having such spaces open would help in retaining the life in the buildings and streets much longer in the day. At present the few distribution facilities around the airport have the same working time as the offices. In the future with the development of nearly 50,000 more square meters of distribution facilities and nearly and addition of 500 new employees, it will make better sense to change the working hours of these facilities to start from 20:00 to 08:00 hrs. Having such facilities work in the night would mean that there is less pressure on the road infrastructure to carry the heavy vehicles. Also any airport related activity could take place then in order not to interfere with the airport functions. By making sure the distribution facilities are working in the night, it would also mean that the area would not be totally dead in the night.





Carriage way (4 lanes) Mass Transit System

Land side development The residential floor space located on the upper floors. This could act as eyes on the street during the night hours.

The ground floors can be used as retail and hospitality spaces (cafes, pubs and restaurants). These spaces will have a different work cycle than that of the office spaces

Office spaces from the Rotterdam Business Park and the Schieveen nature and business park can be accommodated in the intermediate floors.

Air side development

The location of the distribution facilities closer to the runway will help in reduction of the noise from the airside. Also these spaces can function only during the night time. This would help in reducing congestion on the road network and also minimize the effect of aeroplane noise on the workers.

Single large commercial space

Multiple smaller commercial

The Dutch office market faces the highest vacancy rate in Europe. ‘It is not just over-supplied, it is under demolished’

Existing building design is mainly to accommodate one single large office space or multiple smaller office space around a single service core

Mix use of floor plate

Complete reuse of floor space

With large number of commercial spaces remain unsold in NL, there is an opportunity to reuse the commercial space for residential or student housing

There are opportunities to transform vacant office buildings in city centres into housing, health care assets, nursing homes, education facilities and student housing. Redevelopment represents the future for all developers.

Office Space

Residential Space

Change in the architecture plans of the buildings could help in designing and construction of more flexible adaptive spaces. Linear buildings would not only help in reflecting and absorbing the noise from the airside, but also give more flexibility to the building

Flexible use of spaces for multiple functions will help in efficient use of the buildings. Movie theatres could double up as conference facilities during the day time.



Reworking the PROFIT perspective - retrofitting of the buildings The economic crisis of 2008 has not faded out yet in the Netherlands. It is estimated that nearly 20 percent of all office space is unsold. This is a very number considering that the office stock is continuing to increase in the future. This however is not the best of facts for the business park coming up at RTM. With prime floor space still available in Zuidas near AMS, the chances of investing in the Rotterdam business park are quite low. What the real estate market needs is to start rethinking its business strategy towards selling the commercial floor space. Netherland’s lagerst real estate firm OVG had stated that ‘The Dutch office market faces the highest vacancy rate in Europe. It is not just over-supplied, it is under demolished’. This is not the best of starts for the business parks at RTM. However as mentioned earlier, RTM is a case of a clean slate. This gives it a lot of opportunity to rethink its real estate strategy towards the new business park. The development of the new technopolis at delft, and the expansion of the universities in Delft and Rotterdam would also mean a large influx of student population. As per the present strategy, most of the office spaces will be sold off as one large since floor space or multiple smaller floor spaces. If the demand for commercial floor space is going to remain low in the future too then it might be interesting to see the possibilities of changing the space for residential use, specially student housing. The demand for student housing at the Erasmus university and tu delft have always been high. The drop in the real estate market could be used to benefit the students. The fact that most of the buildings have not been constructed, there needs to be a relook in the working plans of the buildings to make them more flexible to accommodate student housing with commercial spaces. If the project is at its early stage, then it would make sense to redraw from scratch, in order to make room for other kind of uses within the building. The Rotterdam The Hague business park is brand new development of nearly 200,000 square meters of office space, distribution facilities and retail space. While this will create nearly 3000 odd jobs (direct and indirect) it is quite unclear if all the floor space will actually be sold considering the volatile real estate market The Netherlands has. With high demand for studen housing and low demand for office space, this could be an opportunity to re look and rework the business plans of the development.

-Population decline over the years has meant a change in the spatial planning in the region

From a clean slate............................................. something new !!

Conclusions Rotterdam The Hague airport has never been important to the Netherlands in its history as it is today and in the future. The aviation market has sky rocketed in a short time period and will continue to do so unless something dramatic happens. This is an excellent opportunity not only to develop the airport, but also the surrounding areas. Since this a urban design thesis/project the scope of proposals is limited to its boundary. The advancement in aviation technology will play a major role in the development of the airport and the surroundings. The issue of noise is the most important factor towards the future of the airport. What really is required is to address the issue at the earliest stages and then create a platform where growth can build upon. Accessibility to the airport by public transport continues to be a major hurdle. The demand for public transport also depends on demand for the airport, if the passengers numbers at the airport as going to remain the same as today, the passenger numbers in the busses and metro will also remain low. The construction of the business park may increase the passenger numbers, but it also depends on how much the airport is able to expand. Superbus might be an interesting option to look at for the airport. with a majority of the passengers being business travellers, the Superbus could be a high speed personalised mode of transport offered by the airport. This may also help in building the image of the airport. With a unstable real estate market in The Netherlands, it would be time to rethink the business strategy of the park at the airport. The relocation of the Schieveen nature and business park to the side of the airport may actually help the Rotterdam The Hague business park. If the demand for commercial floor space continues to remain low, then looking at other options such as student housing and education facilities might be a better option for the market.

Addressing the issues of Noise, accessibility and nature does not just have benefit for Rotterdam The Hague airport, but also for Rotterdam and the surrounding areas. Even if the airport were never to grow beyond 2 million pax / year certain interventions at the local scale will benefit the larger good.

Sources, references & interviews Interview Mr Ramond Pronk, HR, Rotterdam The Hague Airport Ms Marie Jose Fles & Sjors Rietveld, Transport department, Zuid Holland Province Mr Rob Ter Horst, Nature & Habitat department, Zuid Holland Province Mr Hans Martin, Spatial Planning department, Zuid Holland Province Mr Vincent Kuypers, the GROUNDS, Schiphol Group Ms Antonia Terzi, Superbus project, TU Delft References Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay From Airport to Airport City by Mathis Güller, Michael Güller Rotterdam Noord Rand Ontwerpstudie naar de inrichtingsmogelijkheden van het voorterrein van Niew Rotterdam Airport Schiphol group annual report 2010 & 2011 Airport-Driven Urban Development by Emilia Machedon Airport futures: Towards a critique of the aerotropolis model by M. Charlesa, P. Barnesa, N. Ryanb, J.Claytona The Effect of Noise and Night Curfews on Regional Airport’s Capacity and Economic Value by TU Delft Evaluating the Impact of Noise Constraints on Regional Airport Capacity and Economics: The case of Rotterdam Airport, The Netherlands, by TU Delft Planning & architecture for a new urban condition: The ambitions of a pilot project by Andre Loeckx Spatial Planning Models of Airport-Driven Urban Development by Robert Freestone and Douglas Baker White Paper on Dutch Aviation Competitive and sustainable aviation sector for a robust economy Beleidsplan Regionale Luchtvaart 2008 - 2020 by Province Zuid Holland

Park in motion, Final thesis by Wouter Swinkels Multimodal location Rotterdam Noordrand, Final Thesis by Tom Braakman The value of noise at regional airports by TU Delft State of affairs Netherlands office market by NVM Business, August 2011 Conversion gains ground - slowly, paper on dutch office market Dutch office market for 2014 by Bouwfonds, real estate investment management Sources

EMU Thesis  

The thesis dealt with the problems that has restricted the growth of the Rotterdam The Hague Airport and problems faces by the residents due...

EMU Thesis  

The thesis dealt with the problems that has restricted the growth of the Rotterdam The Hague Airport and problems faces by the residents due...