15 Jun Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative – Pooling Neighbourhood Resources
Name of the Project
Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative – Pooling Neighbourhood Resources
Country, City, Neighbourhood
Holland, Rotterdam, Afrikaanderwijk
Who is developing the project?
Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative – Rotterdam
The Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative links existing workspaces, entrepreneurs, producers, social organizations with the market. They encourage sustainable local production, knowledge exchange, cultural development and entrepreneurship based on shared responsibility and participation.
The Cooperative works on bringing together existing workspaces, entrepreneurs, producers, social organisations and the market. The Cooperative began its work by mapping the unrecognised skills and competences of residents in the Afrikaanderwijk neighbourhood, suffering from problems of low education, unemployment and a bad reputation. Based on these skills, the Cooperative created a number of organisations to help residents use their competences through establishing the neighbourhood kitchen mentioned before and catering company, a textile workshop and a cleaning company, offering services on the market and bidding for municipal commissions, in order to keep revenues in the area and create jobs for locals.
The cooperative revenue, 50% goes to the members, 25% goes back to the cooperative and 25% goes into fund for social and cultural projects. At least twice a year, they organise a general assembly for the cooperative, to decide what to do with this fund.
Objectives of the Project
The Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative strengthens the power and qualities of Rotterdam South by investing in active inhabitants and local businesses.
The goal is to make Rotterdam South, and specifically the Afrikaander district, a stronger and financially more stable area with active inhabitants and entrepreneurs.
Tools and Methods
- small scale interventions within the existing market (match between an artist or designer and a market seller)
- mapping the unrecognised skills and competences of residents in the Afrikaanderwijk neighbourhood
- developing local skills and setting up chains of collective neighbourhood production.
- the cooperative allows individuals to pool resources and legitimise their informal businesses
- culture production and start up new businesses.
What methodologies does the project use?
- participatory processes
- digital tools
- cultural heritage
- collective mappings (open cartographies)
- social innovation tools
- design thinking
- others: community engagement
Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative operates in South Rotterdam’s Feijenoord area. Evolved from an art project conducted in the area by the Freehouse Foundation in 2008. In 2013, they set up the Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative, an umbrella organisation, and handed over all our activities and the cooperative work spaces to the cooperative. Freehouse, is now part of this cooperative, as one of the members together with many shopkeepers, inhabitants and the cooperative workspaces they initiated. The goal of this neighbourhood cooperative is to stimulate sustainable local production and entrepreneurship, by developing local skills and setting up chains of collective production. They aim at producing economic opportunities, leveraging political power to shift policy, and negotiating economic advantages by reinvesting profits in the area.
The first initiative (art project) in 2008 was called “De Markt van Morgen” (tomorrow’s market) and they aimed at creating an image of what they saw this market could look like in the future. They organised a live 1:1 maquette of how this market could look, feel better and work better. They created 300 small scale interventions within the existing market, and they also organised five markets ourselves. The interventions were based on a match between an artist or designer and a market seller: their form could vary from the restyling of a stand to making prototypes of new market stalls, prototypes of new products. After the they started with the market they began to zoom out into the wider area. They came across a lot of people who were part of strong informal networks. Many people were working in food production, but they couldn’t really sell or earn money with their skills because they didn’t have professional kitchens. There was an empty kitchen in the neighbourhood so they created access for these home cooks to the kitchen so that they could start organising a catering service together.
They have now twelve different nationalities in the Neighbourhood Kitchen and they run a catering business together. They started out with an art funding for two years and for three years now the kitchen is independent from funding.
The cooperative started also a cleaning company called SCHOON that ensures that cleaning work that normally is outsourced to companies elsewhere is “insourced” and carried out by members of the Afrikaanderwijk Workers Co-op. Now people living in the area clean 80% of the buildings owned by the area’s main housing agency. Similarly, with the Neighbourhood Kitchen, they set up Home Cooks Feijenoord, a meal service for elderly, sick, and disabled people where professionals and volunteers prepare meals in people’s homes. They also rent out the Gemaal op Zuid to commercial, governmental and private parties that allows us financially to share the space with locally based co-op members and inhabitants, as a space for presentations, exhibitions, meetings, dinners, workshops, knowledge exchange and so on. From all these different flows of money, the cooperative revenue, 50% goes to the members, 25% goes back to the cooperative and 25% goes into fund for social and cultural projects. At least twice a year, they organise a general assembly for the cooperative, to decide what to do with this fund.
Selected tags about the project
#mapping local resources
#pooling Neighbourhood Resources
How does it develop in time?
no time limit to the action
Citizens of Afrikaanderwijk with a focus on local business empowerment.
- strengthen local economy and creating new jobs
- Neighbourhood Kitchen
- prototypes of new products
- cleaning company
- catering service
- creating good and positive relations and dialogue with municipality
How is it evaluated?
no specific info