Maud Ebbers: Reclaiming (Semi)Public Space: Two Strikes Against Living at a Disadvantage

Location: Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Mentors: Caroline Newton, Tanja Herdt
Keywords: Urban politics, (semi)public space, urban deprived areas, societal discourse, reclaiming space, neighbourhood settings, stigmatization of disadvantage

Rotterdam has always been a showcase for attractive images but ignorant about developing urban impurities, by post-war being built back as an intra- and international getaway.  Due to fragmentation of the spatial planning system, politicization and polarization, and a lack of depth in important political discussions, urban impurities in municipal measures express in the absence of cross understanding regarding taking care of challenging focus areas, like Bospolder-Tussendijken (BoTu) in Rotterdam. It is time to reconsider the approach.

Socio-spatial character is paradoxical, while social unrest creates a lack of responsibility to sustain and maintain the (semi)public space, which causes a vicious cycle of unrest. Overstimulation with (sustainable or resilient) development plans sensitizes and therewith stigmatizes the neighbourhood. Residents are aware of this stigmatization and find themselves often in a self-fulfilling prophecy, not taking care of their surroundings. Passengers and residers move through the neighbourhood with shifting motives related to four domains of social life, notably living (1), labour (2), learning (3), and leisure (4). Urban planning documents are dominantly textual and theoretical, while they involve creating physical places with a practical outcome. No-boundary-botu could be the solution. By embracing asset-based community development and co-creating with the unusual suspects, an Asset Atlas could strengthen local networks and fit the needs of the different domains, aiming for true cross understanding. Through scenarios, synergies within the initiatives’ network will be displayed to reclaim the (semi)public space, encourage encounters, and create safety, trust and, most important, rest.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s