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“Buurtklimaatje is enlisting the help of children to prioritise the climate challenge in neighbourhoods.”
Involving future generations in the climate challenge
Buurtklimaatje – Dutch for ‘neighbourhood micro-climate’ – involves local residents, organisations and other parties and encourages them to work together to make the neighbourhood climate-proof. In workshops, children work on discovering and tackling climate issues in their neighbourhood. Through the children, we involve their parents and the broader network: neighbourhood organisations, the municipality, housing associations, water authorities and others. Together we work on solutions for climate issues in public spaces, and we encourage residents and organisations to do the same on private property.
The children’s designs and the neighbourhood residents’ practical ideas are being compiled in a climate guide for the neighbourhood and will be implemented where possible. This is how young advocates of this initiative, as well as some older ones, are working on the physical and social neighbourhood climate.
The climate challenge at the neighbourhood level
The reason for establishing Buurtklimaatje is the climate challenge. Measures need to be taken in many neighbourhoods to reduce the effects of heavy rainfall, heat and drought.
Stress tests have been carried out at almost 250 locations in Rotterdam’s neighbourhoods to identify where interventions are needed. These measures are an opportunity to involve local residents in developing a joint plan for a climate-proof neighbourhood.
The idea of Buurtklimaatje is supported by Rotterdams Weerwoord, a programme that aims to make Rotterdam climate-proof by introducing practical measures and actions throughout the city, galvanised by the neighbourhoods. And by making all the people of Rotterdam co-owners of the climate challenge through a dialogue with the city. Thanks to Buurtklimaatje, we’re going to put our money where our mouth is.
Buurtklimaatje focuses on neighbourhoods where the physical and social climate needs reinforcement. We immerse ourselves in the social and spatial task by talking to residents and neighbourhood organisations and by looking closely at the challenges and opportunities in the public space.
Our aim is to link Buurtklimaatje to spatial interventions. For example, the redevelopment of a street or a square. We are looking for co-makers, Buurtklimaatje partners who will join us in our venture. Think of residents and organisations who want to make the neighbourhood greener or improve the quality of life.
We reach children through schools and other youth organisations. With them, we investigate the climate question in their neighbourhood and challenge them in a number of workshops to come up with surprising and innovative designs. Their ideas are presented at a climate exhibition in the neighbourhood. We immediately discuss designs and ideas that can be implemented in the short term with our neighbourhood partners. All plans and designs will be included in a climate guide for the neighbourhood.
Getting started in Rotterdam
The Buurtklimaatje approach was developed in 2019 with the support of the Rotterdams Weerwoord programme. Buurtklimaatje is now being implemented in two Rotterdam neighbourhoods: Kralingen West and Carnisse. The first visible results are expected in the autumn of 2020.