by Theun Karelse in Radical City inc.

While climate change challenges the traditionally Dutch way of dealing with land and water, the otter is making its return to the Netherlands. The otter, an icon for aquatic landscapes, is in fact already knocking at the gate of our city. How do we respond? Theun introduces a conceptual design in the form of a floating allotment for a livable city for the otter, humans and nature. Otterdam is partly inspired by the 'water allotment' after examples from Asian and South American cultures, such as the Chinampas (floating garden) of the Aztecs. The first phase of the research has started and within the exhibition Radical City inc. the first visualizations of the city of Otterdam are visible.

public space - exhibition



Guided by the research, the second phase of the project will focus on design: What would such an allotment floating on water look like, and can it contribute to biodiversity and help the otter in particular?

For centuries, the Dutch have focused on draining water. As populations grew, more and more land was drained to free up space. Amsterdam, for example, was originally once peatland like much of our country. However, increasing drought is shifting the question to how we can retain water in our landscapes. After all, peatlands harbor a great deal of biodiversity and store many times more and longer-lasting CO2 than a forest. Otterdam explores what the new ecology and water balance may look like, and how we can welcome the otter to Amsterdam. What design interventions are needed for the animal's return?

More information

Join our mailing list for updates and more

I consent that my personal information may be used in accordance with the law.