Knowledge Day 2021

International knowledge exchange

On Friday 4 June, our annual Knowledge Day took place – a three-part in-depth programme (in English) for professionals and other rooftop enthusiasts.

The Knowledge Day had a strong international focus and consisted of the Rooftop Farmers Meet-up (in cooperation with DakAkker) in the morning, interactive Lunch Workshops and the TOP^ summit about the sustainable layered city (in cooperation with Architecture Institute Rotterdam) in the afternoon. This year, the full Knowledge Day programme took take place online.

The day was presented from the parking garage at Kruisplein in Rotterdam. The main location of Rotterdam Architecture Month in 2021, for which our Knowledge Day served as the kick-off event.


The sustainable and layered city

It is well known that greenery is good for cities, and so is the fact that rooftops offer opportunities in terms of greenery, water collection, energy generation and social functions. But how we shape this in a complex city where these issues are part of a broader context is still a major challenge. This year’s Knowledge Day was dedicated to an international knowledge exchange regarding this subject and is focused on Rotterdam.

Get the programme booklet here (pdf)

9:30 – 12:00  Rooftop Farmers Meet-up

The Knowledge Day will start with the Rooftop Farmers Meet-up – organised in cooperation with DakAkker, an initiative by Rotterdams Milieucentrum.

For the first time, this meet-up brought together several European rooftop farmers to exchange and share knowledge with the public. We welcomed guests from Copenhagen, Oslo, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels, Paris, Turin, Cachan and Cork. They operate as rooftop farmers at large production rooftops as well as at small community vegetable gardens and every other type of rooftop farm. The original rooftop farmers of Brooklyn Grange in New York will also join us virtually to tell their story.

It was an inspiring morning of conversations and lectures about the connection between food in the city and the role of rooftops in the transition to a more local and sustainable food system.

Check out the schedule and all guests here

12:30 – 13:30  Lunch Workshops

At noon, we split up and – with a sandwich in hand – participated in small-scale, informal workshops with a variety of rooftop topics. There were workshops that interactively expanded on topics from the Rooftop Farmers Meet-up. You could also choose to attend workshops on topics that were covered in the afternoon during the TOP^ summit, such as the role of wood construction in the sustainable layered city.

Check out the workshop topics and all guests here

14:00 – 16:30  TOP^, summit on the sustainable layered city

The afternoon programme consisted of the TOP^ summit, organised  together with Architecture Institute Rotterdam (AIR). After the short opening speech, a series of dialogues started that link Rotterdam with international experts in the fields of policy, urban strategy, design and ownership, air rights and architectural innovation. These experts addressed questions from their field while looking at Rotterdam and other cities.

Parallel, there was a programme of short project presentations from Rotterdam, Dutch and international projects on and about rooftops or other subjects related and inspiring to the layered sustainable city.

Check out the schedule and all guests here

And more

Leading up to the TOP^ summit, we organised four expert meetings together with AIR. From these meetings, the most relevant talking points for this summit emerged. You can read the reports of these expert meetings here. The general managers of AIR and the Rotterdamse Dakendagen, Bas van der Pol and Léon van Geest, also made two podcasts about these meetings. You can listen to the podcasts here (via Soundcloud).

As on every Knowledge Day, the Rooftop Hero Award for best initiative on a rooftop was handed out. This year, the initiators of DakAkker received the award!

The Knowledge Day programme is organised by Rotterdamse Dakendagen together with AIR and DakAkker. It is also part of the Rotterdam Architecture Month 2021.

The programme is supported by Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, Gemeente Rotterdam and Creative Europe.

Photos: ©Karin Opelland, ©De Urbanisten, ©Frank Hanswijk, ©Annette Behrens