Rotterdam’s Afrikaanderwijk has been a deprived neighbourhood that is struggling with a bad reputation for a long time. Since 2013, the Afrikaanderwijk Coöperatie, an initiative of Freehouse Foundation, is trying to change that by promoting local entrepreneurs and supporting local residents to explore their talents.
Together with other neighbourhoods in Rotterdam’s south, Afrikaanderwijk is undergoing a transformation process. Local residents and businesses in the the area are facing challenges of gentrification as a result of the new developments. Through multiple social empowering initiatives, the Freehouse Foundation has actively anticipated on local existing qualities, increasing social cohesion and improving the social-economical position of the neighborhood for both residents and businesses.
Afrikaanderwijk Coöperatie is focused on local entrepreneurship. Through an online platform they bring together local workspaces, entrepreneurs, producers and other social organizations. Currently there are around 60 leading members who acquired over a hundred jobs for the community. Jobs vary from producing local food in the Wijkkeuken, designing clothes and teaching fashion in Wijkatelier, selling local crafts and designs in the Wijkwinkel, to providing cleaning services for the current IABR.
As a result, Afrikaanderwijk is slowly developing a reputation of a neighbourhood that is home to a diversity of cultures and talents. Rather than seeking for economical support coming from outside, Afrikaanderwijk Coöperatie is focused fully on strengthening from within, shaping a talent driven economy for Afrikaanderwijk. Curious? Keep an eye out for the website of Afrikaanderwijk and make sure to check out the IABR’s Afri-tours to explore the Afrikaanderwijk through a guided tour!
Pop-Up City is an official media partner of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2016. Afrikaanderwijk Coöperatief is featured in IABR—2016’s main exhibition.