What happens “After Dark” in the Heart of South?

What happens “After Dark” in the Heart of South?

Public transport interchange Zuidplein is one of the most important interchanges for public transport travelers in the Rotterdam region. How can the perception of safety there be improved in a circular way? In this key question lies the intended purpose of the collaboration between the Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab Rotterdam of Inholland University of Applied Sciences and Rabobank.

Managing problems
Rotterdam’s Hart van Zuid is the area around Zuidplein Shopping Center and Ahoy, which has been undergoing a true metamorphosis since 2016. A tremendous amount has already been achieved economically, socially and culturally. One of the major challenges now is that problems are having a negative effect on the perception of safety in and around the busy Zuidplein public transport hub. Especially after sunset. We urgently need to do something about that.

Innovative, local solutions
Working together for a better living environment is an important mission of Rabobank. ‘In carrying out that mission, we look at social problems,’ says Wesley Sturrus, Director of Daily Banking at Rabobank Zuid-Holland Region. ‘We were guests of Inholland Rotterdam’s Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab. From this urban living lab, students and researchers, together with other parties, examine current social problems in the city. These are complex issues that require innovative, local solutions. As Rabobank, we became enthusiastic about the task-oriented approach.’

Working together for a sustainable future
‘We both stand for the same thing: how can we make Rotterdam better, healthier and more sustainable,’ Wesley explains.’In Rotterdam, we are in any case jointly striving for a circular approach.Together we deal with products and raw materials in such a way that we create as little waste, harmful emissions and litter as possible.These students have a vision of what the future should look like.Or rather: their future. As a bank, we like to be actively involved in giving young people confidence and room to develop, so that they themselves can contribute to improving the world around them.

”Livability, sustainability, circularity and inclusiveness are the common threads running through the approach”.

Challenges and opportunities in ‘Placemaking After Dark’
After the collaboration was clinched, a brainstorming for the project to be chosen for academic year 2023-2024 followed. That resulted in the challenging challenge Circular Placemaking After Dark in the Hart van Zuid. Iris Kerst, Program Manager Urban Leisure & Tourism Lab Rotterdam explains: ‘Placemaking is about revaluing or upgrading a place. About transforming space into place, as a meaningful place. Livability, sustainability, circularity and inclusiveness are the common threads running through the approach. The students and researchers of this Living Lab and Rabobank have found each other in the objective of improving safety. Together we are looking for the sting of the issue and how to remove it. The main goal is to improve safety around the Zuidplein metro station ‘after dark’. The place has to be beautiful, but also functional and meaningful for society.’

Students pitch sustainable solutions
Our engaged students pitch their findings to Rabobank delegates, with or without visual prototypes.’As a stakeholder, we are very involved and offer not only knowledge, but also budget to have students’ concepts implemented.From all the ideas we select the best together,’ Wesley explains.’During the jury round, we saw concrete pitches with well thought-out, workable solutions.Creative and contemporary.As Rabobank, we are confident that this challenge will lead to sustainable solutions.Not only the place itself, but Rotterdam as a whole will benefit.’

Find out more about the collaboration between Rabobank and Inholland University of Applied Sciences, found below the article on the Rabobank website here.

15 November 2023