RingCity focuses on the spatial and systematic potentialities of urban mobility infrastructures in the event of dismission. We believe that the frequency of such event will considerably increase due to technological innovation along with contemporary cultural shifts: autonomous cars will turn many highways obsolete, while many already advocate for demolishing infrastructures in a wake of urban highways rejection.
In particular, the scope of this work is the definition of a future scenario for the ring road of Rotterdam as part of it will be declassified and dismissed in the next decade.
Two main lines of thought constitute the theoretical framework of the project: first, the objectification of the existent element as a found artifact in the landscape; second, the need for a new typology of multimodal infrastructure, able to deal with the ecological and social requirements of contemporaneity. It results in a new kind of linear infrastructure that increase the bandwidth of the current network by establishing a symbiotic synergy between different systems. Hence, the design utilizes the potentiality of the artifact to its advantage, supporting the argument for reuse against demolition and touristic retrofit. The urban highway can be turned from element of decay of the built environment to solutions to its social, energetic and ecological criticalities thanks to the huge potential they carry in the form of land use and connection. For instance, heated water, waste material of powerplants in the port which currently poses a threat to the river ecosystem, will be linked to geothermal heat sources in the city, creating a stable network with the highway as backbone. An hyperloop elevated structure will trigger the possibility of creating a loop around the city dedicated only to driverless car that will pair the highway and slowly replace it. This will allow and foster an early adoption of the technology because, like any transportation technology, driverless cars will be most optimal when they have their own dedicated piece of infrastructure