The Summer Carnival is the largest festival in Rotterdam. This procession, that takes months of preparation, is taking over the central city the last weekend of July, to disappear again for a year.
This urban design project uses the preparing programme, long term and temporary, of the Summer Carnival as a catalyst for the development of a district. Looking at social, cultural and demographical data, the district of Afrikaanderwijk could be the perfect breeding ground in Rotterdam to create a cultural incubator for the community connected by the Summer Carnival.
This urban design project is part of the case studies that substantiate Festivalcity_Rotterdam a strategy for the symbiotic collaboration of festivals and urban development, creating a strong identity for both.
2oo8, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
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.
From May until August there are three big intercultural carnivals in the northwest of Europe: the Karnaval Der Kulturen in Berlin, the Summercarnival Rotterdam and the Notting Hill Carnival in London. The carnivals have their specificities: origin and program and therefore a different (temporary and permanent) impact on the urban surrounding.
Karnaval Der Kulturen, originating from the city of Berlin to celebrate its growing international population, stretches the definition of the word carnival.
At Karnaval der Kulturen the main activity is the four days during street festival in the park (Blucherplatz), situated in Kreuzberg, near the metro stations: Hallesches Tor and Mehringdamm.
The whole richness of the different cultures can be experienced by live music, parties, exotic food, shopping for trinkets at the market streets and music, dance and acrobatics workshops. The parade is at one of these four days. It is a mixture of carnival groups from different countries and street performers. The parade ends near the park of the street festival.
In the former Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche, that is now cultural centre, also a part of the music program takes place. Other than the church, no permanent locations are used. Because of the temporary market, the local shops don’t really take part at the festival.
_visitors parade and street festival: 1 35o ooo _ width parade streets: between 3o and 5o metres.
Summercarnival originates form the small Antillean community in Rotterdam and grew steadily over the years to become one of the biggest festivals of Rotterdam. Now the festival is organised by a co-operation of a group of the Antillean community and the festival organisation Ducos Productions, who also organise other intercultural festivals.
The Summercarnival has a strong connection with the original concept of the Antillean Carnival and the parade is the main activity. Preliminary to the parade there is a carnival queen selection and the Battle of the Drums, the day before the carnival. The Battle of the Drums gathers people for four directions around the city centre and brings them, mainly along shoppingstreets, to the stage at the Coolsingel. The parade of the Summercarnival is located in the city centre and ends at the city hall of Rotterdam, located at the Coolsingel.
In the neighbourhood of the Coolsingel there are the main shopping streets and at the Coolsingel there are permanent food pavilions. Temporary market stalls with food, drinks and trinkets are added for the festival.
This festival has no permanent cultural location.
_visitors street festival: 9oo ooo _ width parade streets: between 15 and 5o metres.
Notting Hill Carnival originates in 1964 and started as a local festival, set up by the Afro-Caribbean communities of the Notting Hill area. It has now become a full-blooded Caribbean carnival.
The festival exists of 2 parades, a smaller one on Sunday (mostly visited by families with young children) and the main one on Monday. Next to the parades there are 40 static sound systems in the area where the parades are held.
The festival still takes place in Notting Hill area and different from the other parades in Berlin and Rotterdam, that are more linear, the Notting Hill carnival makes a round, creating an inside urban space. In this space the static sound systems, permanent and temporary shops and food places create a Caribbean atmosphere. This atmosphere can be experienced all the year round in the Tabernacle, a permanent multi-venue arts and entertainment centre in Notting Hill. The Tabernacle underpins an accent on local African Caribbean culture and maintains perennial activities in carnival arts.
_visitors parade and street festival: 8oo ooo _ width parade streets: between 15 and 25 metres.
Festivalcity_Rotterdam, the urban strategy on the symbiotic collaboration between festivals and urban development together with the casestudies: ‘Caribean Summer @ Afrikaanderwijk’ and ‘the Rotterdam urban theatre’ was presented at an Enviu Workshop about sustainability. The participants learned from this lecture that sustainability is more than just ‘green’, it is also about creating strong communities and branding a city.
In the short presentation of Festivalcity_Rotterdam, David Dooghe focussed on the symbiotic cooperation between the festivals and the city. In this way a festival can be used as a catalyst between the social and the urban structure of a city.
The report of the workshop, written by Netta Noro:
David Dooghe introduced an architectural and urban design point-of-view and presented two events as cases from Rotterdam. He argues that cities are in competition with each other. To support their identity, they use slogans as "I love NY" and "I am Amsterdam". Dooghe asks: How do you create the identity for a ‘festival city’? Events as EXPO or the Olympic games create a hub in the city, but do not lift the urban and cultural growth on the grass-root level, or in the long run. Still, there is a tradition of good co-operation of festivals with their city. Changes in a city affect the festivals as well. Festivals attract middle class to live in the city and a typical festival goer is a middle-aged person presenting middle-class interests and taste.
Case 1: Summer Carnival in Rotterdam, a little brother of the Carnival in Rio. It holds a calendar of the community with its temporary program & permanent program activities. Dooghe presents an urban plan for the community of the carnival in the Afrikaanderwijk, a quarter in the south of Rotterdam. The plan has two phases, of which there is first an experimental phase, where the festival seeks to create a needed buzz, and another phase where people accept the festival in their yearly repertoire of events to attend.
Case 2: Rotterdam's major festivals. Dooghe's urban plan for the event venues seeks to shape a multi-purpose space in the city center, which can have multiple usages for urban life in between the yearly events.
Conclusions: Multi-functional urban planning is the way to help people use the urban space and to create a more functional community. Since festivals are celebrations of the community, Dooghe promotes a symbiotic cooperation between the festivals and the city. Urban planning works as a tool for developing the urban areas into ‘urban theaters’ and therefore more festivalfriendly cities. Creative zones, shaped by urban planners, should be capable of absorbing a variety of events but remain a vibrant public area between them.
Dragan Klaic noted that Dooghe is stretching the notion of a festival into any kind of big event. He thinks that as an architect Dooghe is able to see the challenge of space in festival production and spatial organization of sociability. A festival can be used as a catalyst between the social and the urban structures of a city.