Maurice Harteveld


This commentary aims to provide a window on the future by studying actions, taken to control the spreading of the corona virus, while obviously affecting public space over a year. What has been the effects on public space directly linked to these actions during the pandemic; what values play a role, and what can we expect for the future? We have seen how immediate responses induced by the COVID-19 crisis influences traveling, gathering, and public live in general. Now, it is time to look further.[1] Having a base-point in Rotterdam and taking The Netherlands as an example, the commentary argues that some shifts in using, appropriating and experiencing public space will remain. Yet, mainly those not just being immediate responses to sudden societal change, rather those which are embedded in long-term change.*


[1] This article is a follow-up to author’s contributions to the global ‘2020 A Year Without Public Space Under the COVID-19 Pandemic’ initiative, as part of the webinar ‘The Impact of the Pandemic to Street Life, Urban Culture and Beyond’, as well as to the Delft Design for Values COVID19 Working Group, and the TU Delft research team on Post-Pandemic Public Spaces.


* This article includes research and statistics updated to March 2021.


How to Cite
Harteveld, M. (2020) “Domestication Will Shape Future Public Spaces: A Report from Rotterdam”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(3), pp. 53–66. doi: 10.32891/jps.v5i3.1379.
Author Biography

Maurice Harteveld, Delft University of Technology

Maurice Harteveld has an uninterrupted focus on public space, particularly related to urban design and the architecture of the city. Although, at the current, this focus is shifting slowly to a more intercultural understanding of ‘human space’, hence ‘urban design for people’, this work is still adding to the reposition of urban design theory. The number of publications following his work on ‘interior public space’ and ‘interior urbanism’ (since 2005) are awarding and can be seen as such recognition. His international oeuvre, both in research and in education, brings urban design back to its fundamental interdisciplinary nature in the overlap of responsibilities, though in a non-structural way and particularly transdisciplinary, with users involved. In doing so, he specifically clarifies future challenges for designers based on socio-spatial dynamics. Synchronically, he reframes histories from the questions we have today. He does this from Delft University of Technology, DIMI, Delft Design for Values, and among others AMS Institute. He also works at the Architects Registration Board of The Netherlands and he is a guest at various foreign universities.


Adema, Yvonne, Wiljan van den Berge, and Alice Zulkarnain (2020, August) Langdurige Effecten van de Coronacrisis voor de Arbeidsmarkt, CPB Coronapublicatie. Den Haag: Centraal Planbureau.

Baran, Paul, and Martin Greenberger (1967, April) “Urban Node in the Information Network”, P-3562, Santa Monica: RAND Corporation, invited paper as presented at 1967 IEEE International Convention Record, March 20-23, Session 4, ‘The City of Tomorrow’, Monday 9:30 A.M. – 12:00 Noon, New York.

Bos, Kim and Floor Rusman (2020, 4 April) “Social Distancing. Corona: Garantie op Groot Social Ongemak”, NRC Weekend, Zaterdag 4 & Zondag 5 April, 2020, pp. 2-3.

Bouma, Katja (2020, 22 May) “Raportage: Drukte in Amsterdam. Naar Buiten, Ja. Wat moet je Anders?” De Volkskrant, Vrijdag 22 Mei 2020, pp. 2-3.

CBS (2019, 18 December) In Tien Jaar Tijd Ruim 11 Procent Minder Winkels, 18-12-2019 00:00, https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/nieuws/2019/51/in-tien-jaar-tijd-ruim-11-procent-minder-winkels, retrieved 20 November 2020.

CBS (2020, 6 April) Thuiswerkers per Beroep, 2019, 6-4-2020 12:00, as published at https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/maatwerk/2020/15/thuiswerkers-per-beroep-2019, retrieved 2 March 2020.

CBS (2020, 15 May) Nearly 9 Thousand More Deaths in First 9 Weeks of COVID-19, 15-5-2020 15:01, as published at https://www.cbs.nl/en-gb/news/2020/20/nearly-9-thousand-more-deaths-in-first-9-weeks-of-covid-19, retrieved 20 May 2020.

CBS (2020, 22 May) Deaths registered Weekly, by Sex and Age. Changed on: 22 May 2020, published at https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/en/dataset/70895ENG/table?ts=1590076257433.

CBS (2020, 27 July) Hoeveel Mensen werken er in Cruciale Beroepen? (incl. Bijlage Revisieberoepen Tabel1 en Tabel2, 27/7/2020), as published at https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/faq/corona/economie/hoeveel-mensen-werken-er-in-cruciale-beroepen-, retrieved 1 March 2020.

CBS (2020, 4 August) Coronacrisis jaagt Online Winkelen aan in het Tweede Kwartaal, 4-8-2020 00:00, as published at https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/nieuws/2020/32/coronacrisis-jaagt-online-winkelen-aan-in-het-tweede-kwartaal, retrieved 20 November 2020.

CBS (2020, 12 August) ICT Workers at Home most often during Coronavirus Crisis, 12-8-2020 15:00, as published at https://www.cbs.nl/en-gb/news/2020/33/ict-workers-at-home-most-often-during-coronavirus-crisis, retrieved 20 November 2020.

CBS (2021, 8 February) Nearly 13 thousand COVID-19 Deaths up to November 2020, 8-2-2021 15:00, as published at https://www.cbs.nl/en-gb/news/2021/05/nearly-13-thousand-covid-19-deaths-up-to-november-2020, retrieved 1 March 2020.

CBS (2021, 16 February) Werkzame Beroepsbevolking; Thuiswerken, 16-2-2021 02:00, as published at https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/cijfers/detail/83258NED?q=thuiswerkers, retrieved 3 March 2020.

CBS (2021, 18 February) Werkloosheid gedaald naar 3,6 Procent, 18-2-2021 06:30, as published at https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/nieuws/2021/07/werkloosheid-gedaald-naar-3-6-procent, retrieved 1 March 2020.

CBS (2021, 5 March) Mortality in Week 8 lower than expected, 5-3-2021 15:00, as published at cbs.nl/en-gb/news/2021/09/mortality-in-week-8-lower-than-expected, retrieved 1 March 2020.

CBS (2021, 26 February) Detailhandel; Omzetontwikkeling, Index 2015=100. Gewijzigd op: 26 februari 2021, as published at https://opendata.cbs.nl/#/CBS/nl/dataset/83868NED/table?ts=1615823425053, retrieved 1 March 2020.

CBS (2021, 12 March) Mobiliteit in Coronatijd, 12-3-2021 10:04, as published at https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/visualisaties/welvaart-in-coronatijd/mobiliteit, retrieved 13 March 2020.

CPB (2020, November) Novemberraming: Economische Vooruitzichten 2021, CPB Raming. Den Haag: Centraal Planbureau, retrieved from https://www.cpb.nl/raming-november-2020-vooruitzicht-2021.

CROW, and Project for Public Spaces (2008) Succesvolle Openbare Ruimtes: Praktijkvoorbeelden en Principes. (Publicatie 273). Ede: CROW, 2008.

De Graaff, Thomas (2004). On the Substitution and Complementarity between Telework and Travel: A Review and Application. (paper presented at the NECTAR workshop ‘Communication, Labour Markets and Urban Systems’ organized at the University of Alicante). Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, retrieved from http://degree.ubvu.vu.nl/repec/vua/wpaper/pdf/20040016.pdf.

De Voogt, Sam, and Joram Bolle (2020, 4 April) “Vaker de Weg op. Buitensport. De Rondjes zijn niet meer te tellen”, NRC Weekend, Zaterdag 4 & Zondag 5 April, 2020, pp. E21-E23.

Dekker, Paul, Joep de Hart, and Laila Faulk (2007) Toekomstverkenning Vrijwillige Inzet 2015. Den Haag: Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau
Encel, S (1975, October) “Social Aspects of Communication”, invited paper, IEEE Transactions on Communications, Vol. COM-23, No. 10, October 1975, pp. 1012-1018.

Google Analytics (2020, 29 March) COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports on The Netherlands, available at https://google.com/covid19/mobility.

Google Analytics (2020, 20 October) COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports on The Netherlands, available at https://google.com/covid19/mobility.

Government (2020, 5 March) Dutch Measures against Coronavirus. online since March 5th, 2020, and frequently updated: https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/tackling-new-coronavirus-in-the-netherlands.

Harteveld, Maurice (2019) “Reviewing Premises on Public Spaces in Democratic, Inclusive, Agential Cities, Illustrated by Amsterdam”, The Journal of Public Space, 4(2), pp. 123-144.

Jongen, Egbert, Jos Ebregt, Bas Scheer, and Hans-Martin von Gaudecker (2020, May) Arbeidsmarkt: Sterke Daling Gewerkte Uren. CPB Coronapublicatie. Den Haag: Centraal Planbureau.

Kamerman, Sheila (2020, 26 October) “Winkelen in Coronatijd: ‘We nemen het er nog even van’”, NRC Handelsblad, Maandag 26 Oktober 2020, pp. 6-7.

Klaassen, Leo Hendrik, and Paul Drewe (1973) Migration Policy in Europe : A Comparative Study. Farnborough: Saxon House / Lexington: Lexington Books.

NL-Alert (2020, 22 March) Noodmelding NL-Alert 22-03-2020 11 :29 “Volg Instructies Rijksoverheid op: houd 1,5 Meter Afstand! Bent u Ziek of Verkouden? Blijf Thuis. Bescherm Uzelf en de Mensen om u heen. Samen tegen Corona. Keep your Distance to Others”.

NRC (2020, 21 May) “Drukte op Hemelvaartsdag”, as published online only at https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2020/05/21/drukte-op-hemelvaartsdag-a4000432.

Macron, Emmanuel (2020, 16 March) Adresse aux Français du Président de la République Emmanuel Macron, 16 Mars 2020. Paris: Élysée.

Plaut, Pnina O. and Dalit Shach-Pinsly (2019) Digital Social Networks and Travel Behaviour in Urban Environments. London and New York: Routledge.

RIVM (2020, May 21) COVID-19: Current Information, as published at https://www.rivm.nl/en/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/current-information-about-novel-coronavirus-covid-19, retrieved 21 May 2020.

RIVM (2021, March 13) “COVID-19_Aantallen_Gemeente_Cumulatief.csv” (this file contains the cumulative numbers of positively tested persons and the number of hospital admissions per reporting date, and the number of deaths per death date, per municipality in The Netherlands), daily updated and published at: https://data.rivm.nl/covid-19/COVID-19_aantallen_gemeente_cumulatief.csv, retrieved 21 May 2020.

Rutte, Mark (2020, 16 March) Television Address by Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, as translated at https://www.government.nl/documents/speeches/2020/03/16/television-address-by-prime-minister-mark-rutte-of-the-netherlands, retrieved 20 May 2020.

Rutte, Mark (2020, 3 April) Letterlijke Tekst Persconferentie na Ministerraad 3 april 2020. Mediatekst | 03-04-2020. retrieved 20 May 2020 at https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/mediateksten/2020/04/03/letterlijke-tekst-persconferentie-na-ministerraad-3-april-2020.

Rutte, Mark (2020, 7 April) Letterlijke Tekst Persconferentie Minister-President Rutte en minister De Jonge na afloop van crisisberaad cabinet. Mediatekst | 07-04-2020, retrieved 20 May 2020 at https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/mediateksten/2020/04/07/letterlijke-tekst-persconferentie-minister-president-rutte-en-minister-de-jonge-na-afloop-van-crisisberaad-kabinet.

Rutte, Mark (2020, 7 April) Letterlijke Tekst Persconferentie Minister-President Rutte en minister De Jonge na afloop van crisisberaad cabinet. Mediatekst | 15-04-2020, retrieved 20 May 2020 at https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/mediateksten/2020/04/15/letterlijke-tekst-persconferentie-minister-president-rutte-en-minister-de-jonge-na-afloop-van-crisisberaad-kabinet.

Rutte, Mark (2020, 14 December) Television address by Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, as translated at https://www.government.nl/documents/speeches/2020/12/14/television-address-by-prime-minister-mark-rutte-of-the-netherlands, retrieved 1 March 2021.

Rutte, Mark (2021, 23 February) Letterlijke tekst persconferentie minister-president Rutte en minister De Jonge, Mediatekst | 23-02-2021, retrieved 2 March 2021 at https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/mediateksten/2021/02/23/letterlijke-tekst-persconferentie-minister-president-rutte-en-minister-de-jonge-23-februari-2021.

Schiedam-24 (2021, 1 February) Bijna Zeventig Procent minder Verkeer op Vliegveld Rotterdam, 01-02-2021, retrieved 1 March 2021 at https://schiedam24.nl/nl/nieuws/nieuws/bijna-zeventig-procent-minder-verkeer-op-vliegveld-rotterdam/16451.

Sevil, Malika (2020, 27 September) “Achtergrond: In Coronatijd ergeren Buren zich Helemaal Groen en Geel”, Het Parool, Zaterdag, 26 September 2020, pp. 1, and 6.

Salomon, Ilan (1985, September) “Telecommunications and Travel: Substitution or Modified Mobility?” Journal of Transport Economics and Policy , Sep., 1985, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 219-235.

Van den Dool Pim, and Rik Wassens (2020, 26 October) “In De Tweede Golf Gaan We Weer Wat Vaker Even Een Blokje Om”, NRC Handelsblad, Maandag 26 Oktober 2020, pp. 6.

Van Noort, Wouter (2020, 19 June) “Hé wat Leuk, De Buren! Hoe in Coronatijd Mensen hun Eigen Wijk Ontdekken”, NRC Cultuur: Leven. De Buurt bloeit op. A section of NRC Handelsblad, Maandag 22 Juni 2020.

WHO (2020, 16-24 February) Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO).