Social Life’s Youngwoo Jeon recently visited Rotterdam to see an exciting and successful urban crowdfunding project. Rotterdam is a vital centre of commerce, knowledge and services, and is also home to the largest cargo port in Europe.
However, the Hofplein area is relatively deprived compared with the more affluent Central district. The district has traditionally been divided from the Central district by a six lane road and railway tracks.
From the facebook page ‘Luchtsingel Rotterdam’
To change the situation, a Rotterdam based architecture firm, ZUS launched a crowdfunding campaign to construct a 400m long pedestrian ‘Luchtsingel (air cannal)’, to connect the Hofplein area to the Central district.
ZUS started to sell wood planks to citizens in 2011, and residents could have their names carved on to the planks used to build the ‘Luchtsingel.’ This raised the initial funding for the project, and over 8,000 people contributed.
The Luchtsingel has was completed in June 2015 and created an important walking link for important places in the Hofplein area, such as Schieblock, an incubator for start-ups, an events area, a community farm, and shops inside of Hofplein station.
New shops and restaurants were opened inside of the Holbein station with the completion of the Luchtsingel project.
The Luchtsingel project won a vote competition for a government grant, called ‘I make Rotterdam’. Four million euros of grant were invested not only for construction of the wooden bridge but also for the creation of community spaces including a vegetable farm, green spaces and the event space.
Following the success of the Luchtsingel project, a similar crowdfunding initiative has started in Liverpool, lead by ‘Friends of The Flyover.’ Its goal is to transform the old concrete flyover at ‘Churchil way’ in Liverpool into a community space.
For more information on Liverpool’s crowd funding project, have look at this link: http://friendsoftheflyover.org.uk/
Youngwoo Jeon is on secondment to Social Life from Seoul Metropolitan Council.