Call to Rotterdammers: I Make Rotterdam

• October 30, 2011

Call to Rotterdammers: Make Rotterdam
The 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam and architecture firm ZUS launched the first project of ‘I Make Rotterdam’.

Rotterdammers Make Rotterdam 600x330 Call to Rotterdammers: I Make Rotterdam

To ensure our cities remain habitable in the future, we must conceive, design and manage them differently. That is the message of the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR): Making City. It is in this context that architecture firm ZUS is tackling Rotterdam’s Central District. This is the area between the Central Station, Weena and Pompenburg. Under the motto ‘I Make Rotterdam‘, ZUS is calling on all Rotterdammers to contribute to the development of their city. During a well-attended IABR lecture on Tuesday 11 October, ZUS launched the first project of ‘I Make Rotterdam‘: de Luchtsingel. This temporary pedestrian bridge between the Central and North districts will be financed through crowd-funding.

Interested parties can make a contribution through

Bridge over Hofplein

The area around Hofplein was once a bustling city centre but is now dominated by emptiness and speeding cars. ZUS hopes to turn this back into a lively pedestrian area within a few months. In times of crisis, however, a new method of financing is needed – crowd-funding in this case. Both inhabitants and businesses in Rotterdam can help to build this project by buying planks for the bridge. The bridge is one of the initiatives planned by ZUS to transform the Central District into a high-quality destination in a low-budget manner. ‘I Make Rotterdam‘ does not end when the 5th IABR event ends, as the project is set to continue until 2014.

I Make Rotterdam

With this project ZUS is exploring new possibilities to actively involve citizens in making the city. The way in which citizens exercise influence is changing rapidly owing to the emergence of digital applications in spatial planning. ‘I Make Rotterdam‘ takes advantage of this by offering a platform for private initiatives and crowd-funding. ZUS wants to boost the city in a way that everybody can participate in — by starting a shop, organising a concert, opening a restaurant, or building a house.

5e IABR: Making City

The world is urbanising at a rapid pace. By 2050 almost seven of the nine billion people on the planet will live in cities. That is why the major socio-economic and ecological issues of this century are urban problems. But does that mean the city is the problem? Ninety percent of our wealth is generated in the city, and nowhere is the ecological footprint of mankind so small as in the city. The 5th IABR therefore argues the opposite: the city is in fact the solution. But then cities must be planned, designed and managed better than they are at present. For that reason, ‘How can me make the city better?‘ is the key question of the 5e IABR: Making City.

The IABR is traditionally a biennale that organises its own research programme. Much more than in previous biennales, the IABR has on this occasion forged alliances with partners with whom these projects can be put into practice. That is why at the start of 2009 the IABR initiated three projects in Rotterdam, São Paulo and Istanbul. ZUS is curator of the project in Rotterdam.

The IABR starts in April 2012 and includes exhibitions at different venues, a conference, debates and lectures, publications, and TV and radio productions. The main exhibition of the IABR is on show at the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) from 20 April 2012 on. The Central District itself will be an exhibition venue during the biennale period.

+ About ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles]

Elma van Boxel (1975) and Kristian Koreman (1978) set up ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles] in 2001. At their Rotterdam office they head an international team of architects, urbanists, designers and landscape architects. ZUS produces both solicited and unsolicited designs in the field of architecture, urbanism and landscape design. In 2007 Van Boxtel en Koreman won the prestigious Rottterdam Maaskant Prize for Young Architects for their interdisciplinary approach and their ongoing reflection on the interface between private and public space. They are currently part of the international team of curators for the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2012.

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