Rotterdam in transition: Field workshops


On Thursday 26 March 2015 participants had the opportunity to join one of the following six field workshops taking place in Rotterdam.

1. GIS mapping meets transition management: Best of MUSIC

In the MUSIC project (Mitigation in Urban Areas, Solution for Innovative Cities), cities follow a two track strategy: making information accessible through a GIS platform iGUESS and creating an interaction between the municipality and local change-agents following the principles of transition management.

In this workshop, participants will explore in detail how the two tracks meet and which lessons can be learned. GIS tools in combination with transition management can enable citizens, entrepreneurs and public organisations to develop new strategies: using open data to stimulate the local economy through mobile apps, energy-related services or solar PV; and testing CO2 emission reduction measures  to link social issues such as poverty with renewables and greater energy efficiency. During the workshop, participants can experience various applications, such as the Energy Atlas and Rotterdam’s Smart City Planner, and get to know local initiatives that use such instruments across the MUSIC project.

Address: Station Hofplein, Raampoortstraat 30, Rotterdam

2. City harbour: accelerating transitions

This workshop will focus on connecting policy innovation in the short term to ambitious goals in the long term. Participants will visit three locations in the harbour that relate to the City of Rotterdam’s climate adaptation policy, which connects action on climate with action on social inclusion and smart ecological restoration. The stage will be given to the city’s policy officers to explain how the floating urbanisation strategy combines environmental and social sustainability, making Rotterdam's harbour a showcase location.

Address: 2. Katendrecht, Rechthuislaan 1, Rotterdam

3. Social entrepreneurship for a sustainable city

A centre of commerce which has long been a home for multi-national companies, Rotterdam is now finding strength in a wave of social entrepreneurs seeking to use the strengths of private enterprise to solve sustainability challenges.  For this, a business model needs to be developed which is financially self-supporting while also being ecologically and socially sustainable. In this workshop we visit Rotterzwam, a social business growing edible mushrooms in a disused swimming pool to discuss how they have been able to successfully innovate and implement a sustainable business model.

Address: RotterZwam, Maasboulevard 100, Rotterdam

4. Towards a circular city

Circularity is a hot topic in Rotterdam. Companies in this industrial harbour city search how to connect material flows or even to redesign their core business; social entrepreneurs initiate ingenious projects to build upon local resources and urban planners start to map the potentials and think about the spatial requirements for a circular future. In this workshop, participants will visit SCRAP-XL, a ‘supermarket’ for scrapped materials in the up-and-coming ZoHo-district. We’ve invited Jan Jonkert (architect Superuse studios) and Tessa Vlaanderen (‘business connector’, Circularity Centre) and thus look at the potential developments from both an urban planning and business development perspective. Together participants will discuss strategies to accelerate the transition towards a circular future.

Address: Scrap XL, Zomerhofstraat 71, Rotterdam

5. Carnisse: social resilience neighbourhood

This workshop highlights initiatives in the neighbourhood of Carnisse which aim to enhance the social resilience of this part of the city of Rotterdam and its residents. These initiatives take part in a collective journey that tries to influence socio-economic transitions on the local scale.

The workshop discusses innovative and integral ways to address poverty, community development, educational reform and the development of future-proof skills and capabilities. It focuses on breaking down existing structures and building up new ones.

As part of the workshop, participants will visit “sites of transition” including community gardens, neighbourhood centres and primary schools, where they will meet residents, entrepreneurs, teachers, children and gardeners who are engaged in shaping the future of their neighbourhood.

Address: Carnissesingel 208, Texelsestraat 18 and Carnissedreef 292

6. Do It Yourself, Together! Transforming the Rotterdam West district

Urban development is becoming more small scale and spontaneous,with more opportunities for residents to influence local planning processes. However, how participative and representative democracy will combine is not yet clear. It is acknowledged that the government should change to reconnect with rapidly changing societies. Civil servants should become ‘free range’  and their objectives should move from ‘accuracy’ and ‘being the best expert’ towards: ‘curiosity’, ‘being close to society’ and ‘accountability’. But how can this be achieved when local governments find it difficult to make the change?

Participants will discuss how bottom-up initiatives can shape cities and how local authorities can adapt to this reality. They will discuss this theme in the Rotterdam Impact HUB, a place with the slogan ‘where change goes to work’. As well as the experience of Rotterdam, participants will have input from the cities of Amersfoort (the Netherlands), Gdańsk (Poland) and others.

Participants will also visit the Essenburgpark, a previously uncared-for green strip next to the railway transformed by a citizens initiative into communal education and vegetable gardens. Their dream is to turn this piece of green ‘no man’s land’ into a park.

Address: Impact HUB, 1ste Middellandstraat 103, Rotterdam