re:Kreators Network, The Netherlands

Last month Kate and I were invited to the ‘re:Kreators Kick-Off’ in Rotterdam and Amsterdam to meet similar organisations from Bucharest, Budapest, Berlin and Bordeaux and to build on a European network for city-makers and public developers. re:Kreators was started last year by Moerchenpark (Berlin), Stipo (Rotterdam) and the Pakhuis de Zwijger (Amsterdam), with support from the Dutch Ministry. This year the three-day event was hosted by Stipo, at their base in ZoHo. Stipo are working with housing association Havensteder, to populate empty office buildings with creative communities after redevelopment master-plans were abandoned during the recession.

On the first evening each Re:Kreator organisation presented their project at a public meeting with 80 city professionals. Over the following days we worked out our strengths, similarities and difficulties and compiled a manifesto for the re:Kreator network (below). We explored Rotterdam and Amsterdam by foot, boat, bike, tram, bus and train, inspired by generous public space, rich architectural history and forward-thinking initiatives such as Feltmakers, De Viltmannen, The Food Curators, and houseboats on dry land at De Ceuvel, Amsterdam. As re:Kreators we hope to build a network to legitimise development that is centred around people rather than large-budgets and master-planning as well as championing experimental, temporary and slow urban development.

Since we returned to London we have had visits from new friends at The Centre for Mobility and Spatial Planning,  University of Gent, and have two film and production volunteers joining us from Amsterdam and Bordeaux this summer.

Check out the event video made by Gergö Hevesi from Stipo:

re:Kreators Manifesto:

A European platform for city makers and public developers

1. We believe in a way of living in the city that is interesting, affordable and just. We create thoughtful places with care. We create values: money, social, welfare and artistic.

2. We generate diverse ownership - mentally, emotionally and legally; diverse groups feel at home in and feel ownership over our places.

3. We create places that lift everyone’s spirits, and drive people beyond what they would normally come across. Our places are open, inclusive and brilliant.

4. We look for true change. We are not interested in just pop-up, get people’s hopes up and leave. We use the existing energy, build on existing quality, structures and re:kreate by smooth transition.

5. We take a step beyond bottom-up or top-down: we build partnerships between these worlds.