Where public and private meet
Oude Noorden, Rotterdam
Object Design / Research
In cities, we live individualistic lives, I consider this as one of the great advantages of living in the city. However, there is also a downside being a lack of interaction and togetherness between neighbours in urban public spaces. In my neighbourhood in Rotterdam, there is little variety of types of public spaces and the ones present, leave little room for imagination by the users. I miss a level of adventure and playfulness that trigger citizens to use public spaces according to their own needs. I believe this will generate a more diverse group of people to come together and explore their local neighbourhood.
I developed a series of design principles by researching a very distinct, yet common type of residential area in the 1970s and ’80s in the Netherlands; Bloemkoolwijken, (in English: cauliflower neighbourhoods). Cauliflower neighbourhoods are characterised by low-rise living environments designed in maze-like grouping of intimate courtyards. Every fibre of these neighbourhoods was designed to stage social settings in which interaction between neighbours could easily flourish, although with variating success. By studying both the successes and the failures of cauliflower neighbourhood I could extract design principles that can offer new insights and possibilities for the way we deal with public space in the city.
Instructed by these design principles, I designed a series of urban interventions that spark peoples’ imagination and invite them to explore their immediate surroundings. The urban interventions aim at connecting different parts of the neighbourhood by puncturing boundaries, while provoking the use op public space at specific locations. By re-approach the notion of public space, I hope the present a new ideal on how a complex urban fabric like het Oude Noorden can benefit social interaction and new relationships where public and private meet.