independent school for the city

Living on the Southside

Studio developing an alternative vision for Feyenoord City based on the concept of Superdiversity. Fri 24, Sat 25 Feb, Wed 1, Fri 3 and Sat 4 March 2023. Tutors: Falsework (Tim Peeters, Violette Schonberger), Independent School for the City (Wouter Vanstiphout, Michelle Provoost and Mike Emmerik).

Because of the port and its connection with the rest of the globe, Rotterdam has attracted people from all over the world. It has become part of a worldwide family of Majority-Minority cities - cities in which more than half of the population has a migration background. Not just the number of nationalities has increased: as generations pass, also the diversity within the different migrant groups has become increasingly complex. Anthropologist Steven Vertovec calls this ‘Superdiversity’ as a way of looking at the mix of identities of our cities in a less reductive, less statistical way.

Superdiverse cities like Rotterdam bring with them a next stage in the integration process, where ethnicity is no longer the most important factor with which people define themselves. Instead of the old dividing lines of ethnicity or language, superdiversity seems to create new connections. Communities are based on other factors like education, religion, profession, sexual orientation, or neighbourhood. In other words: the simple pie chart of ethnicity becomes mixed up into a fluid composition of overlapping and mixing colours.


Now that Rotterdam has had to cancel its mega-sized urban development, Feyenoord City, suddenly an enormous opportunity presents itself for Rotterdam South. This part of the city has from its very beginnings in the nineteenth century, always been a migrant area. The result is a dynamic and Superdiverse population which consists of a kaleidoscope of ethnicities, religions and subcultures in a constant process of change. Now that the masterplan is done for, the enormous site of Feyenoord City is empty of urban planning, empty of policies, empty of claims.

In this studio -spread over two subsequent Fridays and Saturdays, filled with lectures, excursions, and conversations, with individual research and one collective Wednesday evening in-between - we will  imagine an entirely different development for this area. One that is not based on the investments of financial giants, or the megalomaniacal ideas to realize a Manhattan on the Maas. Instead, we will try to imagine a city that is based on the kaleidoscopic area that lies around it. We will try to imagine a brand-new city center for the South of Rotterdam which is based on the superdiverse conditions of its population. A development that is not based on the middle class image the city council wants to project but on the real identity of the city.

The official programme of this studio is spread over two subsequent Fridays and Saturdays and one Wednesday evening. Participants work on their own research in between, and can plan this how they see fit. This structure allows you to combine participation with work or study. Ask your manager about possibilities to participate within your professional training budget or as part of the BEP. A workspace is available in the school for the complete period of the studio.  


Friday 24 February 2023
10:00 - 17:30 Collective introduction, lectures and location visit

Saturday 25 February 2023
10:00 - 17:30 Collective conversations, research and fieldwork

Sunday 26 - Tuesday 28 February 2023
Individual research 

Wednesday 1 March 2023
18:30 - 20:30 Group conversation on first findings

Thursday 2 March 2023
Individual research 

Friday 3 March 2023
10:00 - 17:30 Collective development of an urban plan

Saturday 4 March 2023
10:00 - 15:00 Prepare for final presentations
15:00 - 17:30 Final Presentations


For whom is the studio?
Any professional background: Sociologists, historians, writers, and other urban thinkers. Designers, planners and architects. Activists, artists, grassroots organisations and other urban do-ers.

What does the studio offer?
Lectures by experts and tutors, Guided group excursions, Conversations with likeminded professionals from a wide array of disciplines, Intensive coaching by the team of tutors, Being part of a learning community

What will you learn?
The sociological background of Superdiversity, Empirical research and doing interviews, Applying the ideas of Superdiversity to urban thinking, Develop creative and alternative urban concepts, How to communicate your ideas effectively

What is the output?
A collective, alternative vision for Feyenoord City in words and/or images and designs