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Year: 2018

Client: Rotterdam Municipality

Happy Streets Wilhelminapier

Turning a road into a place for people.

On Saturday 17 August 2018 we returned with our program Happy Streets. This time we closed off a street on Rotterdam’s high-rise neighbourhood Wilhelminapier and opened it up to people. Our goal: to help people reimagine the car-centric public space and the way they move in the city.

Together with art collective Opperclaes, we created an intervention called “Hęllø yõù”: an invitation to all neighbours and visitors to come out and use the street differently. The result is a new, temporary public space full of life, in which people of all ages can gather to play, dance, eat, and meet one another.

It is challenging for cities to help people imagine a different future. Using tactical urbanism and working with local artists is a fun and effective way to show the future today. One of the highlights of the intervention is the Nature Path. Small wooden boxes filled with different types of soil are placed on the road, inviting people to walk on them barefoot. Also in this project we noticed that residents almost always want more green spaces, more places to meet, fewer speeding cars, and more space for cycling and walking. We make these possibilities visible to them.

The project is part of Rotterdam’s drive to create more people-oriented places and accelerate the mobility transition. Happy Streets has been working with the municipality, residents and local businesses since the first Open Streets event on 18 September 2016 to suggest an alternative future for the city through co-created urban experiments. The organisation wants to introduce residents to a different way of living: greener, healthier and at a human pace.

The intervention will be repeated on Saturday 25 August and 1 September. Through street interviews, an online questionnaire, and observational analysis we gather information to co-create better public space and mobility options for the residents and visitors of the Wilhelminapier.

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