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MVRDV launches a new software to help reimagine Rotterdam’s rooftops

At the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, MVRDV NEXT, Superworld, and the Municipality of Rotterdam presented RoofScape, a new software that provides a visualisation engine for Rotterdam's rooftops. Aimed at professionals and citizens alike, RoofScape is intended to be detailed and informative enough to assist policymakers and urban planners, while also being so simple to use that individual building owners – and even just interested locals – can play around to see what uses might emerge on their building and in their neighbourhood.

With over 18 square kilometres of flat roofs in the city, the rooftops of Rotterdam have become one of the city's urban planning priorities. RoofScape builds on a prior collaboration between MVRDV and the Municipality, who launched the Rooftop Catalogue in 2021 together with Rotterdam Rooftop Days. This book contains 130 suggestions for how rooftops can be used more effectively to increase the city's density, doing everything from providing more housing and leisure spaces to supporting biodiversity and generating energy.

RoofScape is the next step in realising this potential, building on Rotterdam's existing rooftop standards, which colour-code roofs by what uses they can support. The software combines a wide range of datasets to determine what uses might be appropriate for each building, analysing the city's digital twin to determine the physical characteristics of buildings, and adding in data such as building function, age, energy label, heritage status, flood risk, transit access, and more.

By zooming in on a specific neighbourhood and setting a few threshold sliders to their liking, these colours show users what kind of roofscape might emerge in that area. Focusing on a specific building allows a user to look deeper into the factors that resulted in its assigned colour label.

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