A new brightly-colored rooftop installation opened up this week in Rotterdam. It includes a 30-meter-high aerial bridge that connects a few of the city’s rooftops. Designed by Rotterdam Rooftop Days and MVRDV, the “Rotterdam Rooftop Walk” is designed to bring awareness to the city’s rooftops and demonstrate how they might be used as an added layer of public infrastructure within the city. The installation will run from May 26 to June 24.
This is a neat idea and not just because I like bright orange things. Rooftops are, by and large, underutilized assets within our cities. It behooves us to do more (I just wanted to say behooves). But I think it’s important to keep in mind that aerial bridges and rooftop spaces can come in many different forms. I think you could argue that there are aerial bridges designed to enliven forgotten spaces (like this example here) and there are aerial bridges designed as a solution to appalling and inhospitable ground planes.
Sometimes these inhospitable spaces are because of extreme climates and sometimes it is because we forgot how to design spaces that are actually enjoyable for pedestrians. The former of these two scenarios is, I guess, more excusable. But I do think that many cities lack the kind of densities needed to animate multiple layers of public spaces. Often you need to pick where you want to focus people’s attention.
Still, bright orange walkways. Neat.