The world is changing rapidly. Cities are becoming more popular and the labour market is changing in response to robotisation and more flexibility. Digitisation has an impact in all domains of life. What does this mean for the future of Rotterdam? How do residents deal with this? These questions formed the basis of the 'Dialogue with the City'.
The approach of the research is derived from social resilience theory. This theory studies the ability of people to respond to change. How people respond shows how resilient they are. Urbanisation, digitisation and robotisation, flexibility in the labour market, demographic changes and sustainability. During the investigation, the impact of the trend towards smaller government also proved relevant. In addition to these trends, seven domains were distinguished to guide the dialogue: Security, mobility, administration and the city were added later in response to the data collection.
The aim of the Dialogue with the City was to reach as many Rotterdammers as possible and to get an idea of how they see the Rotterdam of 2037. The goal was not only to collect research data, but also to start a dialogue about the future and to make people think about the future. The Dialogue with the City ran from January to June 2017. An extensive visibility campaign was conducted by a marketing agency to draw people's attention to the project. To achieve the goals of the study, three methods were chosen that reinforce each other to make the picture is as complete as possible:
- The portal formed the basis of the Dialogue with the City. Visitors were given the opportunity to fill in the answers to questions.
- The Dialogue with Rotterdam was also conducted physically in the form of street interviews. The street interviews were qualitative anonymous interviews in which open and more guiding questions were asked. The interviews were held in busy and popular places: There was usually coffee available to serve to those who took part.
- The study used focus groups to target residents who are often under-represented in studies, such as residents with a migrant background, a low level of education or young people. Focus groups were held with existing groups, with several generations and in schools.
The study is not representative for all Rotterdammers. The intention was not to take a scientifically sound, representative sample but to get an idea of what a broad group of Rotterdammers think about the future. The different methods used reinforce each other. They were used to reach as many different Rotterdammers as possible.
A total of 31 street interviews were held at 24 different locations throughout Rotterdam and 25 focus groups were held. 2572 people took part in the street interviews and the portal was filled in by 5636 people. In the street interviews sustainability was the most frequently mentioned theme, followed by a clean city and affordable housing. Among the open questions of the portal, sustainability and nature was also the most frequently mentioned theme, followed by education and safety. Participants of the focus groups found playing outdoors, the need for social contact and activities/events the most important themes.
The Dialogue with the City was developed and conducted together with IN10 and Roos & van de Werk. Veldacademie was responsible for the research design, field research and analysis of the collected data.
The report can be downloaded at the bottom of this page and a hardcopy can be ordered.