In 2oo9, a divers and motivated group of 15o Rotterdam youngsters, Rotterdamse Nieuwe, created a vision for the future development of Rotterdam. Together with different stakeholders (governmental and non-governmental), Rotterdamse Nieuwe now work on different projects to implement this vision into the development of Rotterdam.
The vision is subdivided in different themes; Vibrant City is one of these themes. The goals of Vibrant City is to create more and/or better: _cultural research and development facilities for youngsters _diverse temporary use of empty spaces _cultural activities of, for and with youngsters _inviting public space for youngsters _affordable housing in the inner city for students and young people who want to buy their first house.
As a member of the Young Economic Development Board Rotterdam David Dooghe was requested to direct Vibrant City.
Low prized places seemed to attract artists in the past. At the moment, in the contest between cities to attract and grow a significant creative class, more facilities than just low prized workspaces are needed. As inspiration, two art en design centres of which facilities complete the workspaces in the building and relate to the urban area around the building.
3rd Ward is a member-based art and design center for creative professionals in the industrialized area of East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 3rd Ward offers shared and private workspace and facilities that support the development and fabrication (professional wood and metal shop and jewelry studio), as the trade (multiple photo studios, a fully loaded digital media lab, an exhibition space, a large network and a free, full-color magazine) of the product or art piece. By offering classes, it is possible to improve skills or add some new ones. Because of its non-residential location and low public transport connectivity, 3rd Ward gives free bikes to all of their members. 3rd Ward ensures that NYC's diverse creative industry has all the tools, space, and resources needed to keep learning and growing.
Foundation B.a.d is located in the leafy neighbourhood of Charlois. Rotterdam. This is now an upcoming residential area particularly popular with the creative community. The principle aim of Foundation B.a.d is to provide studios, guest studios and project spaces. Each studio has a sink, basic furniture (table, chairs etc) and a stable internet connection. Furthermore, there is a common kitchen and bathroom, laundry room and a computer room with telephone and copy machine. Foundation B.a.d has a large garden and provide several communal spaces, which are used by members and guests for artistic and social activities. Foundation B.a.d enables presentations by their guests as well as organizing and hosting a wide range of activities such as concerts, theatre plays, exhibitions, seminars. The members, guests and wide range of activities provide a dynamic, resourceful and continually evolving environment where creativity is supported and networks are cultivated.
Urban gardening as a part of the city’s park & recreation, Brooklyn
Urban gardening as a part of the street, Brookyn
Urban gardening as a neighbourhood project, Rotterdam.
Urban gardening for own use, Rotterdam
Urban gardening as a statement, Brooklyn
Urban gardening as an educational tool, Brooklyn
Urban gardening as an art project, Torun.
Vancouver has revived its old city quarters by the use of strategic and in time defined measurements. The renewal of the public space was organised together with specific “archipuncture” and the renovation of historic houses, activated by temporary allowances.
Next to the old city quarters, Vancouver has developed a new waterfront on a former harbour area. The area has an interesting mix of high-density urban housing and green, suburban like, streets. Larry Beasley: “I have been accused of suburbanising the city. But if you want to attract people, mainly grown up in the suburbs, to live in the city, you have to create a familiar surrounding. And as you can see, it works!”
The buildings at the waterfront combine different housing typologies: a plinth of ground orientated family houses and above the plinth: towers with different urban apartments. The towers are put back on the plinth so they are hardly visible from the wooded streets. The roofs of the plinth are green roofs or roof gardens, which gives more quality to the views from the above apartments.
The facades of the towers are mainly glassed, allowing light into the apartments (the weather in Vancouver can be dark and grey) and creating optimal views on the impressive landscape surrounding the city. At night, when the apartments are illuminated, the glass towers seem to become transparent.
The shape and place of the different towers was defined in the masterplan. The towers are familiar in materials but different in height and shape. A playful skyline is the result.
In these new housing areas, the amenities, (drug-, food and liquor store and sport fields) are at walking distance. Amenities produce reasons for the inhabitants to leave their house and give opportunities to meet others in the street. Because of the high density, the amenities are profitable.
Together with the new riverfronts, the nearby older city quarters were redeveloped, making them amplifying each other.
By the redevelopment of the city, the community of Vancouver was consulted various times, asking how they wanted to live in the future city. From the resulting knowledge a masterplan was made. The community was frequently consulted but the planning department made the final decision.
This consulting took time and energy in the beginning but it has been rewarding in the end. By being a part of the process, the inhabitants of Vancouver feel stronger related to the city. In the process they learned about urban design, making them critical consumers towards the final buildings companies. The consulting also produced a strong public awareness of the importance of the project, making it less mouldable for changes due to, for example, elections.
The redevelopment of the waterfront has taken place in different phases, lessons learned and remarks of the inhabitants from former phases have been input for the later phases. Creating a specific urban design signature for Vancouver over time.
The last couple of years Rotterdam invested in the public space of its inner city, with the goal to create a ‘City lounge’, a space where people meet, stay, repose.
“Youngsters are the main users of Rotterdam inner city’s streets to meet and stay”, stated David, “Being the city with growing percentage of youngsters, this could have a good effect on the goal of Rotterdam, to create a city lounge in the inner city.”
But while Rotterdam invests to create a public space to meet, the use of the public space is more and more regulated. In some places meetings of a group larger than three persons in the public space is prohibited. The security concerning festivals gets stronger regulated, making festivals impossible to happen.
In the debate quickly the Friday evening ‘problem’ on the Lijnbaan, the main shopping street of Rotterdam and the place and time were youngsters meet, became the main case. The presence of the youngsters creates fear, a passive aggressive atmosphere like somebody in the public stated, among the other users of the shopping street.
“Isn’t this fear more of a generation conflict than a real threat?” David asked the other participants and public, “Knowing that ‘staging’, defining your personality by ‘taking the stage” at every possible moment, is an important part of the youth culture. They aren’t really threatening the others, but they will make sure the others have seen them. What better place in Rotterdam than the Lijnbaan to do this?”
For the politician present, the world works in a way that once something is a problem, it stays a problem. Therefor the rest of the debate got lost in convincing the others of the urge of the problem.
A pity, an out of the box brainstorm with all these interesting participants of the debate could have created new insights.