During the City Makers Congres Rotterdam 2018, City Lab Cool-Zuid was one of the cases for the workshop: What is the value of the Rotterdam City Labs?


At a time when there are new developments and investments in the city, and the city makers, most of them designers, are offered other (and better paid) assignments, the workshop at the City Makers Congress looked into: what are the results and lessons learned from the Rotterdam City Labs over the years? How do we anchor the City Labs in the muncipal processes?


The next step for Rotterdam City Making
After years of a steady development, city making in Rotterdam faces new challenges. The recovering market and the coexisting growing amount of assignments for designers, threatens private initiative and shared urban development less self-evident, despite the value that many parties have attached to it. Therefore, the question arises: how can city making in Rotterdam strengthen and embed itself in this new context?


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Alderman Barbara Kathmann (economy and districts) receiving the Rotterdam City Making Pamphlet, picture Marco De Swart


Embedding City Labs

Together with City Lab The Green Connection, City Lab Cool-Zuid looked into the embedding of City Labs in politics and policy and design departments of the municipality. City Labs have an integral, innovative and locally well-founded working method which often adds value to an area or theme. Can City Labs be a way to give substance to the new Dutch environmental vision, in which an integral and local approach is key?

For City Lab Cool-Zuid, the specific set-up of its team, which brings together residents, entrepreneurs and civil servants, works very well to formulate an integral and local approach for each project. By bringing different fields of knowledge, approaches and (public or local) agendas together, a project is looked at from different angles and a more integral and local formulated project is the result.

Not only the project benefits, but also the team, as the debate on projects clarifies the underlying reasons of a team member. In many cases these reasons are shared among the members and there is thus a mutual starting point. As such, the debates help to build better understanding and stronger connections between the members of the team.