Makers District – Rotterdam

The Rotterdam Makers District is the place in the region for the innovative manufacturing industry

What’s happening? How does it happen?

Formulation of vision and strategy for a specific area of the Stadshavens: the M4H (MerweVierhaven) area and the RDM on the other side of the Maas. The large-scale port-related activities that have marked the area so strongly (fruit port & juice cluster in M4H, the shipyard in RDM) are gradually moving to other locations further on in the (industrial) port. In the wake of this transition, smaller, more innovative makers have settled here – because of cheap rental costs, low noise or odour nuisance requirements, good accessibility,… In the coming decades M4H will be developed into a mixed living-working area, therefore a Spatial Framework is being drawn up.

Why is this an interesting circular initiative for ports?

On the one hand this port-city area is interesting and inspiring for its strategy how to development the area. The ambition was to do this in an incremental way, looking at different time slots (now-5 years, 5-10 years, 10-30 years, >30 years) so existing and new dynamics are brought together leaving room for changes and unforeseen opportunities. Also the ambition was to develop a variety of different milieus that sometime exclude housing or industrial activities. On the other hand, circularity was a guiding concept that allowed for a development framework based on circularity principles, both for materials (buildings) as for infrastructure and people (agents of change).

The further development of the Makers District fills a gap in the regional and national innovation ecosystem. This ecosystem consists of overlapping, interactive and open networks in which companies, investors, knowledge institutions and public parties support each other.

What is the relation with the port and water?

The industrial port of Rotterdam knows some of the most biggest fossil based multinational companies. These ‘abandoned’ port area offer an opportunity as it holds the ingredients (available space, proximity to the city,..) for a new kind of economies that brings back production to our cities and ports.

What is the relation with the city?

Innovations towards such new economies need an urban environment. Also the ambition is to develop some parts of M4H for housing developments, bringing new life, ideas and perceptions into the area and the port-city interface.

What are the ambitions?

Develop the area as a living and working environment and attract innovative manufacturing industry. With the RDM Campus (see fiche RDM) an important step has been taken towards strengthening this new economy. With the Testsite M4H (see fiche Testsite M4H+) a research and development strategy has been tested to operationalize circular area development.

Who is behind it?

The municipality and the Port Authority are working together on this. A programme organisation has been set up that focuses on marketing, branding, strengthening the makers community, guiding companies or organisations to the right desk at RDM or M4H and initiating projects.

Watch this Makers District video

Carola Hein, Sabine Luning and Paul van de Laar tell you about the RDM in Rotterdam, its makers district. It is a place for start-ups, creative industry and innovation.

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