Researcher for future buildings and cities
4 Minute City
February - June 2012

How can we design the city of Rotterdam so every building or function in the city is reachable within 4 minutes?

The 4 Minute City studio is an ongoing studio of The Why Factory (the first studio of this series was called the 5 Minute City studio). The studio I participated in was the third studio of the series, and afterwards one more studio followed. To get a general idea of the previous studios, you can have a look at:

This design studio focuses only on passenger movements and requires research into different types of vehicles, possible city shapes, required functions in the city and habits of the travelling citizens. This studio of the series focussed on collecting data required to develop a 4 minute city.

Vehicle properties

The previous studios developed a list of vehicle properties. This studio extended that list by both adding more vehicles and more detailed information per vehicle. This information is important for the possibilities, limitations and design of the 4 Minute City. The vehicles are vertically arranged by speed.

The list includes information on the vehicle's maximum speed, buffer zone, capacity, turning radius, and maximum inclination. New conclusions in this studio include the vehicle's action radius and thus the cities maximum volume and a comparison to the cities necessary volume.

The vehicles action radius (4 minute model volume) is the amount distance the vehicle can cover in 4 minutes. Depending on the vehicle's properties we can determine the outer borders of the city and thus the shape of the city. The vehicles action radius in 4 minutes is compared to the necessary function volume in the city. Does the volume of the city fit into that action radius? If yes: the 4 minute city is possible with that vehicle. If no, we should consider increasing the maximum travel time to more than 4 minutes.

City volume: functions and units

The last column of the vehicle properties list already reveals the total volume of the city of Rotterdam. This amount of cubic meters is based on Rotterdam's functions and the volumes of those functions. We have defined 62 different functions in the city of Rotterdam.

Each of those functions is actually devided into several buildings ("units"). The circular diagram visualizes each unit (and its size) in the city.

Daily routines of Rotterdams inhabitants

The people in the city travel between those functions. Where do the people in the city go to? The functions you visit in the city depend on the daily routine you have. And your daily routine depends on your living situation and your main activities in life.

We determined 6 (stereotype) households that have significantly different daily routines:

Students (71.817 people), Adults without children (179.648 people), Families with stay at home parents (106.662 people), Families with employed parents (252.264 people), People from outside the city (193.029 people), People in institutions (7.908 people).

As the diagrams show, the peak hour connection intensities and amount of function volume used differ for each of the stereotypes. The thicker the line, the more people using that connection at the peak hour moment.

Connection intensity diagram

The connection intensity for each connection is the sum of the connection intensities for each household of that connection. Just as was the case in the models of the daily routines, this model also only shows the peak hour intensities.

Just as was the case in the models of the daily routines, these models also only show the peak hour intensities. This means the intensities displayed in the image do not necessarily occur at the same time. The models lack the information about what happens at different times of the day. The City Accelerator project solves this deficiency.

(left) Functions in the city
(right) Units in the city
Functions and units in the city
(left) Peak hour connection intensities between functions in the city
(right) Peak hour connection intensities between units in the city
Peak hour connection intensities between functions and units in the city
Theoretical city volume (tram) based on the 4 minute travel time.

Vehicle properties

Household types and their daily routines

See more of my research and projects on accessibility and the city of speed:

This project on the website of T?F: