STANDBYILDING ROTTERDAM: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING IMPERMANENT
24th-28th February 2014
More than 20 young urban planning professionals with international experience and background in architecture, social sciences, geography and environmental studies attended a four days workshop in Rotterdam. The objective of the workshop was analysis and proposal of innovative city making strategy for two neighborhoods centrally located in the city but neglected by city population due to negative image of being unsafe.
The first targeted neighborhood, Zomerhofkwartier (ZoHo), being a former industrial area nowadays is developing as a new creative industries hub with the help of urban development organization “Stipo” which works on establishing a network of stakeholders based in the area. Nevertheless the area still needs to develop its own image within the city context and attract more visitors.
The second case is the Oude Westen neighborhood characterized by multicultural, vivid environment with lots of authentic restaurants and food shops. But located to the south from the Central station the area has a reputation of being unsafe during the night due to drug hotspots positioning there. The “Alliante West-Kruiskade” organization in collaboration with housing corporation (Woonstad) and municipality is working on reduction of the crime rate, creation of new image of the district and gentrification of the neighborhood. However, wide range of stakeholders involved makes the area development complicated.
During the first day participants were introduced to both study cases by presentations of hosting organizations, made observation tours in ZoHo and Oude Westen and split in two groups focused on one of the study cases. The following three days each group concentrated on developing a strategy for the neighborhoods taking in consideration their location, development potential and stakeholders’ interests. The educational part of the workshop included the visit of ZUS office where the participants got acquainted with Schieblock project (revitalization of the office building in the Central train station area), as well as lectures given by Senior urban planner of Planning department of the City of Rotterdam Arjen Knoester and IHS/Erasmus University Rotterdam scholar Dr. Ir. Ronald Wall.
Final ideas for neighborhoods development were presented on the IFHP Housing conference in The Hague. The participants proposed small-scale low budget interventions to the urban area using the idea of impermanence as an effective tool for public space. Innovative solution for ZoHo became an attraction of multiple investors and introduction of community ownership of existing housing units as well as establishing connections with surrounding neighborhoods. For Oude Westen the team proposed to concentrate on existing empty spaces and voids activation by introducing temporal public activities.
URBEGO workshop gave an opportunity for young professionals to collaborate and share their knowledge and brought in the limelight the problems of urban development and city regeneration in the post-crisis environment.
Photo Gallery: Alexandru Seltea.