A lot of scientific research about city life speaks about citizens rather than with citizens. The research project 'My Rotterdam' wants to change that. As part of the research program Vital Cities and Citizens, we aim to learn from citizens what they feel is important in their city, what works well, and what could be improved. After all, who better to discuss life in the city than the people who live there?
About this research
In this study, we gathered information on city life through qualitative interviews with inhabitants of Rotterdam in November and December 2021 and January 2022. We invited them to share their vision on different aspects of city life with us during interviews of 45-60 minutes. This way, we want to gain more insight into the elements that define urban life according to residents themselves.
Uncovering recurring views on urban life
For the second part of the study, we formulate statements about life in the city based on information and insights from the interviews. In March, April and May 2022, these statements are presented to residents of Rotterdam, who can rank the statements according to their own insight. Based on the results of this ranking, we can identify groups of citizens who share similar views on life in their city.
By Rotterdam residents, for Rotterdam residents
With this research, we aim to make the voice of a diverse group of Rotterdam residents heard. This way, 'My Rotterdam' strives to contribute to Rotterdam city life. For instance, by making concrete recommendations to the municipality of Rotterdam and other local actors based on what the residents consider to be crucial for the quality of life in the city. We will also share the insights derived from the research in a creative and accessible way with the general public.
In this work by Neele Schlette with music & sound design by Efthymios Stavropoulos and VFX by Vincent Boon, you will hear quotes that come from interviews conducted with Rotterdammers within the research project My City of Rotterdam.
What do participants say about their Rotterdam city life?
Concert building the Doelen and the Schouwburgplein are important places for me; it's always lovely there. Especially in the summer, there are a lot of people. You walk by, and you see the liveliness. Everyone is sitting at outdoor cafés. And the West-Kruiskade, since I get all my foreign vegetables and products and hair stuff there. It's just little Surinam, Antilles, all in one.
I am making a food garden in this neighbourhood, which has been a great project. There was a big field near the metro, which we called the turd field. An architect designed it, but it became the turd field. And some people from the neighbourhood managed to turn it into a neighbourhood vegetable garden. An edible neighbourhood garden.
I don't feel Dutch, and I'm not Dutch, nor do I have any ambitions to be because I have my own culture and identity. But I have certainly felt like a Rotterdammer from the start. Because Rotterdam is such a blended society, a blended city, that everyone can find their place here. So I don't feel like an outsider, like a stranger. I really feel like a part of the city.
Thomas de Leeuw
Rotterdam has changed so much; it's visionary, it's daring. Things happen here that we detest, but we think it's fantastic in the end. People like the architecture. I have friends here now; it's familiar, and I know my way around. I also work as a city guide, and for a reason. I can't say which other city in the Netherlands I would trade for Rotterdam.
Impression of "My Rotterdam: In conversation about progress" event in Erasmus Pavilion (23 February 2023)
Impression of the My Rotterdam event in BIRD (24th of February, 2022)
Do you have questions about this research project or would you like to participate? Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.