Port‐city transition: Past and emerging socio‐spatial imaginaries and uses in Rotterdam’s makers district

Maurice Jansen*, Amanda Brandellero, Rosanne van Houwelingen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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This article explores old and emerging socio‐spatial imaginaries and uses of Rotterdam’s Makers District. The district comprises two urban harbors—Merwe Vierhavens and Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij—historically in use as bustling trade, storage, and ship yarding nodes of the city’s port activities. At the turn of the millennium, technological advancements made it possible to move many port‐related activities out of the area and farther out of the city, gradually hollowing out these harbors’ port‐related economic foundations and opening opportunities for new uses and imaginaries. This article traces the transition by detailing how the boundary between the city and the port has become more porous in this district. It does so by offering original empirical evidence on the flows of users in and out of the area in recent years, based on location quotients, while also applying a content analysis of the profiles of companies and institutions currently inhabiting and working in these transformed port‐city spaces. On the one hand, the results show how the ongoing port‐city transition in Rotterdam’s Makers District combines carefully curated interventions and infrastructure plans seeking to progressively adapt the area to new purposes, while maintaining some of its former functions. On the other hand, they highlight the pioneering role of more bottom‐up initiatives and innovative urban concepts, springing from the creative industries and maker movement. The article offers insights into the emerging uses and imaginaries attached to the district, while also showing the resilience and adaptation of port legacies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-180
Number of pages15
JournalUrban Planning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

The authors acknowledge the support of Jeroen van Haaren at Erasmus UPT for supporting the authors with data analysis and mapping. Maurice Jansen would like to thank the LDE PortCityFutures research programme for financial support. Amanda Brandellero acknowl‐ edges the support received by Dutch Research Council (project “Crafting future urban economies,” grant num‐ ber VI.VIDI.195.160).

Amanda Brandellero is Associate Professor at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Commu‐ nication. Her research focuses on the intersection of culture, creative industries, and place. With a background in economic geography, she is currently leading a project entitled Crafting Future Urban Economies, on sustainable making and craft practices in post‐industrial cities. The project is financed by the Dutch Research Council.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors; licensee Cogitatio (Lisbon, Portugal).

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