Resilient BoTu 2028

Bospolder Tussendijken (BoTu), the first resilient district in Rotterdam;

This ambition offers major opportunities for creative interventions, innovative strategies and private investments.

BoTu is composed of the urban districts of Bospolder and Tussendijken in Rotterdam. They are two of Rotterdam’s relatively unknown gems. Almost 7,000 households are home to over 14,000 residents. Both districts are characterised by high population density and its residents are incredibly diverse. About 80% of the population consists of ‘new’ Dutch nationals and almost 70% have a non-Western background.

Bospolder and Tussendijken are residential districts in which young people as well as the elderly are strongly represented. On the one hand, with the Schans, the Gijsingflats and the Robijn and the Diamant, the district offers a relatively large amount of housing for the elderly. On the other, many (single-parent) families live there and almost 20% of the population is younger than 15 years of age. The relative proximity of the city centre, the availability of public transport and the arterial roads in the neighbourhood mean that BoTu appeals to highly skilled and wealthy residents. Le Medi, on Mathenesserdijk and Mathenesserweg is home to many families that manage very well in social terms. With the arrival of the Hudsons, the Lee Towers and the construction at both ends of the Dakpark the percentage of highly skilled and wealthy residents will increase.
At the same time the inner areas of the residential districts are vulnerable. In Tussendijken over 60% of the housing stock consists of social rental properties in the lowest segment. Despite the urban renewal, Bospolder still has several neighbourhoods with severely outdated housing stock. Almost three-quarters of households in BoTu are low-income households. On the list of the twenty poorest postcode areas in the Netherlands Tussendijken and Bospolder come 2nd and 5th with almost 30% of people living in poverty (Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP), 2013). The balance of residents/employed people, at 14% (Bospolder) and 17% (Tussendijken), is the lowest in Rotterdam, comparable with the old urban districts in South Rotterdam. In certain parts of Tussendijken 30 to 40% of households rely on social benefits (Blok voor Blok approach, 2016). Many households cope with serious debts. One out of five households is dependent of social benefits.
In BoTu a coalition of parties has emerged that is committed to the area. GPs, school principals, Onwijze Moeders, shop owners, businesspeople, Delfshaven police, the BoTu district team, district work consultants, Havensteder, Delfshaven Coöperatie, the district manager and the City Marine have all joined forces. They believe in the strength of BoTu and aspire to make BoTu the first resilient district in Rotterdam.
In order to achieve this ambition a new way of working is required, which consists of the following components:

The approach is inclusive: residents come first.
We design interventions in which residents, (social) entrepreneurs and other (social) organisations in and from the district are explicitly involved in order to create a sustainable effect. A plan for the district with the districts!

The social challenge is paramount.
The emphasis is on interventions that help resolve the persistent social issues in BoTu. This requires a long-lasting, integral approach in which links are made with the physical environment in the area (including sustainability, the energy transition), the economy and safety. In 2019 we will launch the approach in BoTu. This Call for Action is the launch of an intensive collaborative process we call Social Impact by Design.

The approach is open and integral, and we collaborate with Ibusinesses, creative entrepreneurs and citizens.
The challenges in BoTu are so great that no single party is able to structurally solve the problems individually. A crucial element of the approach involves broad collaboration with different partners. A genuine integral working method is a necessary prerequisite to achieve the ambition for BoTu. This also requires us to actively seek new cooperation arrangements between citizens, the (local) authorities and private companies to facilitate the extra investments needed in BoTu. The following diagram illustrates the type of cooperation needed. The top figure is the old situation, the lower figure shows the new situation.