#IABR — An Urban Rooftop Farm In Downtown Rotterdam

If recent trends are any indicator, rooftops are the key towards making good, sustainable use of our built environment. From water collection to bicycle storage, the top of a structure is just as critical to effective space use as its contents.

Meet the Dakakker. As part of the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, the Rotterdam Test Site has included the city’s first rooftop garden on top of the Schieblock building. The garden houses vegetables and herbs (and some bees, too!), with the produce heading to local restaurants and a soon-to-be-opened shop.

Perched 23.4 metres above the Schiekade, the Dakakker’s modest goal is to turn Downtown Rotterdam into a district that isn’t simply producing the city’s well-known exports (including architecture, logistics, consumer goods, and the Dutch voice of Scrooge McDuck), but also a source of fresh produce for the neighbourhood. In a city with high vacancy rates in its downtown area, any community-building strategy is a positive development.

While the long-term effects of the Dakakker remain to be seen, it is certainly a great manifestation of the Making City theme of the Biennale. One of the most important elements of successful city-building is infrastructure: no, not just transportation or electricity or sewage systems, but also our sources of food and drink. People need to live and work closer to where their food comes from: after all, food deserts do not a city make.

More of our photos from the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam can be found on Flickr.