Since the beginning of February a group of master students of the chair "Urban design and city analysis" (faculty of Architecture, TU Delft) finds themselves busy with the project "Design strategies for regeneration areas". The upcoming semester they will dedicate to an analysis of the present living environment of the Rotterdam district Oud Charlois. Based on their research the students will develop strategies to improve the situation.
Students from Highschool Nieuw Zuid present their ideas about transforming Oud Charlois
During the introductory "Confrontation lecture" in the district Oud Charlois itself, students and citizens where brought together. From different points of view living and working in the district was described by several speakers: Ivo van den Baar (father, entrepreneur /artist and inhabitant), Paul van Oers (teacher Highschool Nieuw Zuid) with the two students Maida Pasalic and Wesley Piergolam, Aart de Gast (restaurant owner "Hof van Charlois") and Carla Lee (local resident support office run by volunteers). The municipality of Rotterdam was represented by Cor Korpel (inspecting agent of department urbanism and public housing) and Rob van Vliet and Sebastiaan Oskam (Bureau Frontline of Municipality of Rotterdam). After the brief presentations there was time to discuss various questions and the future vision of the area.
Discussion with Ivo van den Baar
Especially the views expressed by the citizens made clear that besides the existing social problems there is a big image problem that the area has to deal with. Even though there has been a big improvement of the security within the district, keywords like "crime" and "unsecure" seem to stick to Oud Charlois. Those definitions do not seem to match the description that the inhabitants give of their surroundings. Listening to the attending speakers the most defined problems are:
- insufficient appealing business and catering industry to attract visitors from other parts of the city
- unused buildings and empty plots make the streets look shabby and create a negative picture
- the lack of a central meeting place for the youth makes them gather in public where other inhabitants find them not appropriate and discomforting
With the received information the students will formulate an appropriate assignment with the emphasis on analyzing and improving the stated problems. On march the 20th the students will present their (spatial)solutions to the same audience.