Community Capital

Aiding low income communities in asserting their place in the urban space of Rotterdam

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The place of urban low-income populations is increasingly coming under threat in the modern and globalized city - as urban centers are becoming more prominent and attractive parts of society and economy, and the addressal of poverty more socially prominent, questions and actions taken in this context increase the pressures on these vulnerable populations.

In Rotterdam this manifests in the notion of urban renewal of low income neighborhoods, promoting strategies of socio-spatial integration that would introduce more affluent populations into these spaces in an effort of creating diverse communities that would eliminate the notion of ‘bad’ neighborhoods while elevating the local population already there. However, this comes at a heavy price, as it requires the displacement of the majority of the local population, thus creating a contradiction - the strategy for aiding the poor threatens the displacement of most of them.

Rotterdam’s place communities are trying to resist these changes, but are coming short due to lack of socio-economic capital - they lack funds, home ownership, social and political clout and the unity required in order to influence the processes that threaten them.
This research proposes a method of supplementing these lacks, which is based on a research conducted by the University of Birmingham, training and promoting community based projects with the aid of external partners- and seeing them to fruition through engagement of local establishments.
The project here proposes to replicate the process in the Rotterdam context, adapting it and examining how external means can be implemented in aiding vulnerable populations achieve a loud and coherent voice in the planning processes in the western globalized metropolis.