In the ‘60s neighbourhood of Reyeroord in the IJsselmonde sub-region, a number of management tasks need to be taken care of. The sewage system needs to be replaced and a large number of households are disconnecting from the gas-grid as a part of the energy transition. The Municipality of Rotterdam sees these challenges as a starting point to make Reyeroord future-proof.
Becoming physically future-proof is possible by making the neighbourhood climate adaptive, circular and energy efficient. And at the social level, by reducing poverty, increasing social cohesion and improving health and well-being. To achieve these goals, the municipality collaborates with residents, entrepreneurs and various partners. From 2018 this will be done in so-called “Stad-ups” (literally, city-ups); small experiments in the neighbourhood. These city-ups are part of the Living Lab Smart Management in which the City Management conducts research into future-proof forms of management of the city through experiments and in collaboration with residents and entrepreneurs.
One of the city-ups is the "inner gardens" initiative. Inner gardens (or courtyards) are communal gardens between and around apartment buildings. Most of the gardens are owned by the municipality, but are managed by the surrounding homeowners' associations. This experiment examines how the development of the communal gardens can lead to social and physical improvements in the neighbourhood.
The Municipality of Rotterdam has asked the Veldacademie to create a 'model project' for the city-up inner gardens. This model project will provide insight into the possibilities (and limitations) of developing a communal (inner) garden while offering the opportunity to examine which physical and social objectives can be achieved through this initiative.
To create the model project, a design studio was set up, consisting of three workshops. Civil servants from various departments and with different expertise worked together in the workshops. The workshops were carried out on the basis of a concrete case in Reyeroord. Joost van Dijk acted as studio master on behalf of the Tussentuin Foundation.
In the first workshop, which took place on 16 October 2018, participants were asked to design their ideal indoor garden in two teams. They developed ideas based on the themes of staying and interacting, healthy living environments, sustainability and climate adaptation. The purpose of this session was to collect ideas and define assignments. In the second workshop, held on 1 November 2018, the ideas and principles were further elaborated by six teams who also investigated their technical, legal and financial feasibility. Additionally, the environmental factors and management scenarios that determine the layout of the garden were also examined. In the third workshop which took place on 16 November 2018, three possible scenarios for management and ownership were developed. In the spring of 2019, a first design workshop was held with residents.
In the workshops a number of themes emerged as inextricably linked to the development of a communal (inner) garden. These themes deal with technical, legal, ecological and social complexities. For every theme, the existing condition is described within the context of the neighbourhood, how this theme influences the layout of the garden and how this affects the social and physical objectives of the municipality of Rotterdam. A number of design principles have been formulated on the basis of the themes. These are visualized as an axonometric diagram. The visualization is not meant to be a concrete proposal, but an overview of the various topics that will need to be discussed when developing a communal (inner) garden. The layout of a garden will be unique for each location, and shaped by the local conditions and the wishes of residents.