Sustainable Urban redevelopment

Urban redevelopment is a complex process with many stakeholders involved. It can only be successful through a comprehensive approach. Urban regeneration and placemaking must be combined with economic development, education, social inclusion, and environmental protection (including biodiversity). Its success relies on strong partnerships between local citizens, civil society, industry, and various levels of government. RITTERWALD has built an extensive track record in the Netherlands.

Take enough time

Successfully restoring the physical and social fabric of local communities does not happen overnight. On the contrary it will cost you some sleepless night. It takes energy and dedication. Take it step by step, do not rush but keep the momentum going.

A comprehensive approach is the only way to success

There is no Dutch (or British) approach in urban regeneration. The only approach is comprehensive and inclusive: engage all stakeholders (also -expected- opponents), balance physical, economic and social-cultural aspects, think of maximising the mixed-use potential, and celebrate small successes regularly.

Work with the best

Engage only dedicated professionals and volunteers. Skill sets can be learnt, commitment is required from the start to the end. Being street wise will help. Community leadership should be empowered to inform the supply chain (planners, designers, architects, social workers, retailers) to bring them to the next level. It is a team effort.

Plan first, budget second

This last lesson may surprise, but it tells something about the facilitating role of government. We have never come across a well thought and implemented plan without a professional debate on the required budget. However, we have seen the opposite: funds allocated upfront without a good plan in place. In our experience that is a guarantee for failure.

Case studies

As part of its service offer, in the Netherlands RITTERWALD has built a track record with sustainable urban development. We share two case studies, a high street regeneration in port city Rotterdam and the urban growth strategy and implementation plan in the former new town Zoetermeer. Both case studies provide lessons for other countries including the UK and its Levelling Up agenda. Selected high-level lessons that RITTERWALD applies in urban redevelopment client projects.

Case 1

Rotterdam West-Kruiskade:
high street from no-go to must-visit

Situation (in 2010)

A no go high street with drug dealers and users on almost every street corner. Dilapidated properties. In bars and ‘specialist’ independent stores the main business model was selling drugs. Many storefronts did not invite customers to come in. Unique multi-generational family-owned stores (hardware, butcher, bakery, seafood) were struggling because their city-wide customers no longer wanted to visit them.


Improving safety and spurring local economic development. In other words, giving the street back to the local storeowners, visitors, and residents. To accomplish this goal, a 10-year implementation scheme was put in place prepared by local government (planning and police department), a major housing association, and the local business association. Implementation was managed by local alliance representing all stakeholders.

An artists impression of a map of West-Kruiskade.

© Allientie West-Kruiskade

Outcome (in 2020)

A must visit multi-cultural high street close to central station that thrives again due to economic revitalisation of commercial and residential properties and successful public private partnership. Today street management is primarily conducted by local business association through the area’s designation as a business improvement district. While it is a success, everyone must stay alert: a project like this will never be finished.

Success factors

Securing public and private engagement in a binding agreement, support from retailers, strong dedicated leadership, decisiveness through direct access to enforcement leadership through city Marshall (intermediary between city and police responsible for the tipping point), act and move quickly form the start, and local intelligence on the ground.

Case 2

sustainable urban growth strategy for new town


Zoetermeer was developed as a new town that celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2022. It is now home to 127,000 people. Since 2017 RITTERWALD has supported its urban redevelopment strategy. For decades the city’s growth took place in the surrounding green fields. Therefore, capacity building did not fit the purpose of the ‘brownfield’ urban redevelopments challenge. Also, the city was reluctant to lead pro-active real estate stakeholder management.


RITTERWALD was asked to educate civil servants in urban redevelopment practices and prepare a 10,000 homes City Deal (Stadsbouwakkoord) with housing associations, private developers, and institutional investors. RITTERWALD hosted master classes for 200 civil servants, including city council members and commissioners, organised bi-monthly meetings for all civil servants with engaging high-level public and private sector motivational speakers. And finally activated stakeholder management through market consultations.

Bird's eye view of the city of Zoetermeer.

© Ardito / Jan-Evert Zondag


A City Deal to deliver 10,000 new homes on brownfield sites and the launch of a permanent public private professional network with over15 companies.

Success factors

public leadership, long term commitment from real estate industry and external pressure to act and outperform the city benchmark.

Selection project portfolio
urban development

RITTERWALD Performance
Urban Growth Strategy and City Deal for 10,000 new homes in Zoetermeer
Public-public partnership
  • Project Management
  • External Relationship Management
  • Building Public Private Partnership
Comprehensive Redevelopment Strategies, Eemsdelta (2019–2022)
National government
  • Redevelopment Strategies
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Tenant Engagement
Redevelopment Strategy Neighborhood Rotterdam / South Side (2019–2020)
Public-private partnership
  • Drafting and Negotiating Multiple Agreements
  • Process Management
  • Steering Multiple Decision Making Processes
Building public private alliances in regeneration neighborhoods in Rotterdam
Municipal government
  • Project Management
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Stakeholder Management
New York Waterfront Exchange and Redevelopment Strategies
Port Authority and municipal goverment
  • Market Analysis
  • Redevelopment Strategies
  • Stakeholder Management
Enabling housing delivery in downtown Rotterdam
Multiple housing associations
  • Concept development & Feasibility Studies
  • Process Management
  • Public Participation & Consensus Building
Brownfield redevelopment former ammunition factory in Zaanstad
Municipal government
  • Process Management
  • Development Framework
  • Public Outreach
Building consortium for large neighborhood redevelopment in Amsterdam
Multiple housing associations
  • Process Management
  • Development Framework & Business Plan
  • Public Outreach
Neighborhood revitalization post war areas in The Hague and Amsterdam
Public-private partnership
  • Project Management
  • Process Management
  • Concept Development
Revitalisation Neighborhood Plan and Implementation in Amsterdam
Municipal government and property owners
  • Process Management
  • Masterplanning
  • Governance


Ad Hereijgers
Lutz Rittig
Dr. Mathias Hain