Neighborhood Box Shop Boosts Local Economy In Rotterdam

Together with The Hague architecture institute Stroom we’re organizing the Stadsklas, a spring school that teaches innovative and curious individuals interested in cities and design the ins and outs of DIY urbanism. The series will span six days of learning in May, with each day set in a different location. Trend-setting city-makers will take the participants on a trip to their world, and demonstrate new ways to look, act, and make.

How to create neighborhood involvement and participation, how to keep it? And how can this local involvement and participation eventually contribute to the quality of a city? During the first course on Thursday May 8th, artist Jeanne van Heeswijk will tell you all about it in Rotterdam, where she founded the Freehouse foundation, an initiative to boost cultural consciousness and economic capacity.

The Freehouse Foundation is situated inside of a former water pump station in Rotterdam

The Freehouse Foundation is situated inside of a former water pump station in Rotterdam

As an artist, Van Heeswijk works on socially committed art projects that take place in public space. In 2008 she started the Freehouse foundation in Rotterdam’s Afrikaanderwijk neighborhood, known as one of the most deprived areas in the Netherlands, with the aim to make existing local qualities more visible and to emphasize these by creating a space where young people, entrepreneurs, designers, and artists can meet and exchange knowledge, ideas, and experience. In six years the Freehouse has resulted in many projects, such as the ‘Wijkkeuken’ (Neighborhood Kitchen), ‘Wijkwaardenhuis’ (Neighborhood Value House/Store) and, last January, the ‘Wijkcoöperatie’ (Neighborhood Cooperative).

The Wijkwaardenhuis features products and services from local entrepreneurs

The Wijkwaardenhuis features products and services from local entrepreneurs

Situated inside of a former water pump station, the Wijkwaardenhuis is a center that functions as a neighborhood marketplace for the Afrikaanderwijk. The Wijkwaardenhuis exclusively features products and services from local entrepreneurs and shops in the form of a box shop in which every shelf showcases items from a different local company.

Freehouse Foundation

This Thursday Jeanne van Heeswijk will personally take you on a tour of the Afrikaanderwijk, and show you the ins and outs of the Freehouse projects. Together with Jeanne and the other participants of the Stadsklas you’ll learn about the mechanisms that make people feel like a co-owner of their neighborhood, and how to create a structure which can facilitate this feeling.

Join the Stadsklas!
Registration per day is capped at 12 to 15 people, and participants can register for as many or few days as they would like. The costs per day are €100 including food and drinks, and transport on location. Click here for more information, and click here to register.

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