Open Up: Inclusive Community Building

How to use digital tools to playfully bring residents together – based on shared values & interests – to build community resilience and stimulate inclusive collaboration?

Due to the COVID19 crisis, within the time we strictly quarantined ourselves, connections with other human beings rather became digital than physical ways. It changed a paradigm of how we live, connect with others, the way we perceive the human connection, and how we sense a self. However, the core elements of human relationships were even more stood out than the pre-COVID19 period. The importance of self-care and caring for people around the self is being emphasized. We are still very much influencing each other mentally and physically within the societal, cultural, economic, and political systems we live in.

More than ever residents realize the importance of community and shared public spaces, which allow us to connect, express and create together. Our aim is to build a social net for neighborhood resilience and joint local action. We build an interactive digital platform and use storytelling & arts that are shared in online and offline events. Open Up is more than a tool or event though: it’s an innovative approach for neighborhood co-creation and building solidarity between the residents.

To build up an inclusive and diverse community, we start by identifying our inner-self, connect through similarities and foster connections in a blended model (digital/in-person). This is facilitated by the Digital Society School in a partnership with local cultural organizations like Delfshaven Digital, De Middellander Het Wijkbedrijf, and Stichting CAATS who support the development of co-created, culturally-driven projects. Once locally-established, we build global bridges between groups by exchanging collective stories of culture and resilience and organizing international-festivals. This starts in the Middelland at Delfshaven neighborhood in Rotterdam West, before being shared more broadly.

Digital gamification prompts us to Open Up from the inside out: finding ourselves, the other, our neighborhood and identity. That’s in the most immediate sense – the public spaces where we live, work and play – and through the universal medium of stories & art, which transcend national borders. This is the basis for building a resilient social net and co-creating in solidarity.

This project focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals: