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In 2001 Crimson Architectural Historians and journalist/politician Felix Rottenberg were asked to revive a down-at-the-heels New Town suburb in the harbour area of Rotterdam. Against all odds, and amidst the biggest housing demolition project In the Netherlands, this unlikely team of planners have made huge strides towards the ultimate goal of transforming the Modernist New Town of Hoogvliet into a vibrant contemporary urban area with a new confidence about its future. Many successes achieved to date in Hoogvliet belong to Crimson, Rottenberg and the residents of this half completed New Town. And yet, because the challenges - both past, present and future - faced by Hoogvliet are similar to those faced by thousands of post-war towns and housing projects, the story of what happened in Hoogvliet will be of interest to those engaged in similar urban renewal efforts all around the world.
Going by the moniker WiMBY! (Welcome into My Backyard!) Crimson and Rottenberg have spared nothing or no one to accomplish their mission. First, they retold the eventful history of Hoogvliet in a dramatic manner. Then they mobilized local entrepreneurship and talent and began working with the best architects and urban planners to develop a co-housing project, schools, a community park and a cultural center. Along the way, they organized many festivals and events and struggled with bureaucracy and mediocrity. And it is all documented in this richly illustrated, epic, hilarious and sometimes grim report on six years of autonomous urban renewal from within. Welcome!
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