Feeling at home in Rotterdam Zuid for all social groups requires investment

Rotterdam Zuid

In order to make Rotterdam Zuid more of a home for all social groups, both the various middle groups and the more vulnerable residents, it is essential to continue to beautify, green up and (continue to) keep the outdoor areas clean. At the moment, familiarizing oneself with a place and forming a bond are too often hampered by litter, an 'unsociable' atmosphere and a public space that is too masculine. This is the conclusion of an in-depth study by sociologist Dr Wenda Doff, commissioned by the City of Rotterdam and the Knowledge Workshop Liveable Neighbourhoods (Kenniswerkplaats Leefbare Wijken).

Over the past decade, Rotterdam Zuid has gained a more mixed population due to the increased proportion of middle-class residents, partly as a result of the mixing policies of the municipality and housing corporations. Wenda Doff studied how different social groups in South Rotterdam use the public space and live together. How do all these different social groups use Rotterdam Zuid and how do they live together? In this research into the 'lived city', Doff used narrative maps (drawings with stories) of various categories of residents to map out the use of public space, such as parks, squares, streets, etc., and facilities like shops and neighbourhood centres. The research provides knowledge for the future vision for Rotterdam Zuid that is yet to be drawn up, as an elaboration of the 'Omgevingsvisie' (Environmental Vision).

Obstacles to 'home-making' in Rotterdam Zuid

An important outcome is that wealthy groups of residents are also oriented towards Zuid. They are interested in local shops and facilities and want to find their own place in their own neighbourhoods in Zuid. For them, 'making it home' is still too much of an obstacle at present due to litter, an 'unpleasant' atmosphere and a public space that is too masculine, i.e. groups of men who are perceived to be a nuisance, and a lack of facilities such as restaurants.

Less wealthy groups benefit most from facilities such as shops and meeting places nearby. The impoverishment and sometimes limited accessibility of facilities must therefore be reversed.

Investing in networks and public spaces

The slogan of the future vision for Rotterdam Zuid, "changing but still remaining yourself", implies that the people who are there now will have to do it. Doff shows that perhaps not everyone can, or wants to, participate, but she also demonstrates that there are enough residents of Zuid who are willing to commit themselves to the neighbourhood. If these residents are more involved in what is happening in the neighbourhood and are allowed to determine more themselves (ownership), a lot of effort comes in return. Networks do exist in Zuid and that brings a lot of power, concludes Doff.

Download report

Shared space on Zuid

How different social groups use, experience and appreciate the city.

by dr. Wenda Doff and dr. Erik Snel
Publication: Kenniswerkplaats Leefbare Wijken, april 2022 


Dr. Wenda Doff


Dr. Erik Snel

More information

Marjolein Kooistra, media relations Kenniswerkplaatsen, 06 83676038, kooistra@essb.eur.nl

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