With the bombing of its central city, Rotterdam lost the main part of its cultural facilities. After the war Rotterdam utilized temporarily cultural manifestations to celebrate the development of the city and the identity of Rotterdam.
The past decade Rotterdam acquired the title: Festivalcity of The Netherlands. This success caused a sprawl of festivals. The strong connection to the urban development and the identity of the city seems to be lost.
The strategy Festivalcity_Rotterdam sees the collaboration between the festivals and the city as the interaction between a tulip and its flower bulb.
The tulip is a metaphor for the festival that blossoms once a year and shows its beauty to all who want to see. The flower bulb is a metaphor for the supporting community that organizes the festival. The tulip cannot flourish without the bulb grounded in a fertile ground, the city.
The strategy is substantiated by case studies, which put principles on how festivals and the city can symbiotically collaborate in practice.
2oo8, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Festivalcity_Rotterdam, the urban strategy on the symbiotic collaboration between festivals and urban development, was nominated for the first StedenbouwNu Award.
The StedenbouwNu Award is a new Dutch award for urban design graduation projects. For this award the different nominees were interviewed. See the movie of the interview in where David Dooghe explains the project.
click image to enlarge
A report of a student about the lecture.
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.
Festivalcity_Rotterdam is the urban strategy on the symbiotic collaboration between festivals and urban development. It was presented together with the case studies: ‘Caribbean Summer @ Afrikaanderwijk’ and ‘the Rotterdam urban theatre’.
In Rotterdam’s former Photo Museum, guests from the cultural sector of Rotterdam and from the local authority of Rotterdam concerning the urban development and public housing, dS+V, were gathered for the presentation.
Johan Moerman, the director of Rotterdam Festivals liked the approach and agreed that the festivals have a broader meaning for the city. He hopes to work more often together with dS+V in the future.