In 2oo9 Rotterdam was the first European youth capital. This created a lot of energy in the city around problems of youngsters and opportunities for youngsters. Within different local authorities was examined how this generated energy can be applied in the future policy.
In co-operation with Donica Buisman, project manager European Youth Capital at the Rotterdam Institute for Art and Culture, dKC, an analysis of the current situation of the problems of youngsters and opportunities for youngsters in Rotterdam was made by literature study, interviews and brainstorm sessions with different youth organisations. Next to this the tendencies of youth culture in general was investigated.
The analysis was converted in conclusions and recommendations how to make Rotterdam an attractive, young and creative city.
Rotterdam has all the potential to become an attractive, young and creative city. There is, especially within the offered cultural activities, a strong basis to attract the youngsters. The main recommendations for Rotterdam were that the authorities have to stake more on the top talent and anchor youth participation in the programming, the organisation and the communication.
The advice (only available in Dutch) can be requested by emailing to email@example.com
2oo9, Rotterdam , The Netherlands
Four development scenarios on how youth culture could improve the dynamic in the central city of Rotterdam.
The Rotterdam Institute for Art and Culture, dKC, worked on advice for the strong cultural structure for central city. David Dooghe was asked to give input on how the central city can become more culturally attractive for the youth of Rotterdam.
Four development scenarios were made, each starting from a different group of young users of the central city: the youngsters growing up, the students, the starting creative class and the second/third generation allochthonous.
By creating cultural research and development facilities with spaces to interact with the public, by using the public space as podium and by connecting education and business, more possibilities are anticipated for the youngsters to develop and express their own youth culture in the central city, creating a breading ground for new art.
Culture is becoming more and more a part of identity of youngsters; it is a way to express and to identify themselves. Therefore they should always be seen as the ambassadors of their culture.
The advice (only available in Dutch) can be requested by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org
2oo9, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
In Europe the groups single adults without children and couples without children are the largest groups of private households by household composition and these groups are increasing. Therefore the question; how to create housing that supports their needs is significant.
Looking more specific to the group of young people starting on the real estate market, it is important to understand that for them the identity of the district, the building and the interior is important. Furthermore the private, collective and public space needs to allow opportunities for social interaction with friends, neighbours and people who share interests. Lastly, its importance to create choice, in the type of house, the surrounding amenities and the mobility.
Currently, due to the high prices at the real estate market and the insufficient regulations concerning alternative ways of living, the cities of Flanders are not attractive for a big part of the groups: single adults without children and couples without children. This is a dangerous situation for these cities because the households with children already have the tendency to move out of the city, unless they have a very positive relation with the city.
Youngsters between the age of 15 and 20 are a larger part of the Rotterdam population than they are in any other larger Dutch city. However, youngsters between the age of 20 and 30 are a larger part of the Amsterdam and Utrecht population than they are in Rotterdam. Therefore the Rotterdam municipality, together with housing corporations and developers, are setting up different projects to attract young people to the city.1. Top Students.
Rotterdam universities select their best graduates to participate in a contest organised by the municipality, different housing corporations and developers. The winner of the contest can rent an apartment with a discount for the first 2 years. From the 3 year on, (s)he needs to pay the full rent. These apartments are in iconic buildings in the centre of the city, near amenities and public transport.
The other selected, but not winning students also get an interesting offer from the organisation.
2. Starters on the real estate market.
Some years ago, a Rotterdam housing corporation started with a new format to attract starters to live in the inner city of Rotterdam near amenities and public transport.
The principle of the format is that the corporation sells their former rental houses at a price between 80 000 and 120 000 euros, they keep taking care of the external facades, roof and collective spaces, they offer a cheaper insurance for the house and guarantee they will buy the house if the starter would like to sell it again.
If the starter sells the house after 1 year then 50 percent of the added value is for the starter. Every year he stays longer, 10 percent is added until after 6 years, the whole added value is for the starter.
One eighth of the former property of the corporation is sold using this format. With the money received from selling these houses (approximately 50 000 euro a house), the housing corporation reinvests in their property.
3. Young Couples
Succeeding a popular TV Show ‘The Block’ in which several young couples are renovating an apartment in a building block, the Rotterdam municipality together with housing corporation, offered cheap houses in more deprived areas of Rotterdam to be renovated by private initiative. Young individuals or couples have to register at an office who first checks if they meet the requirements and during the renovation process coaches them. After one year the house has to suffice minimal renovation requirements and the new owners have to live there at least 3 years before they can sell the house.
These initiatives are successful and support the strategy to attract young people to live in Rotterdam. However, at the moment these initiatives are still separately organised, isn’t there more to gain with a long-term strategy (supply, financing and regulation)?
The stencil graffiti is perfectly positioned in its surrounding:
- Venus is in the middle of the canvas and the stencel graffiti is place perfectly in the middle of the concrete column, at eyesight when you walk by.
- Notice that the stencil graffiti is mirrored for a specific reason. Moustly, there is wind blowing down the stairs (mainly diagonal lines) and the tunnel (mainly vertical lines) is ready to embrace her.
Train station, Aalter, Belgium 2o11, artist: unkown
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.
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.