A circular, local and lateral economy
Port and city form the basis of the economic position of Rotterdam, yet this position needs continuous development towards a circular economy with contemporary enterprises. Within the research programma we study three important developments to which industry and service providers in both port and city have to adapt. First, there is a need to create a circular economy that closes material flows by preventing waste, reusing materials in high value applications and preventing the destruction of value. Second, manufacturing processes must make maximum use of local materials and other resources in order to prevent unnecessary transportation. This also highlights the impact of business activities on their local environment. Local transactions gain importance thanks to the digitisation and robotisation of manufacturing and the advent of 3D printing (smart industry), and they result in reshoring of industrial activities. Third, business transactions need to be governed laterelly to allow diverse actors to exchange products and services directly, eliminating intermediaries that keep marginal costs high. Relations are not hierarchic but emerge much more organically from a multitude of parallel interactions provided there is a fertile environment in which they can develop.
New Business in old docklands
The research programme adresses the way how Rotterdam can facilitate a new economy and the preconditions that are required. We focus on promising markets that build on the connections between port and city and that are already evolving, such as manufacturing and design industries, bio based and circular industries and marine services. The old docklands are the places where such new businesses are best established. The 'old' economy has reached the end of its life in these areas, so they form an ideal testbed to revamp the synergies between port and city.
New governance models
The starting point for the research programme New Business for Rotterdam (NB4R) is the idea that the near future requires a new mindset and flexible modes of governance rather than short termed pragmatism. Public and private parties are investigating new forms of urban development, financing and governance that give companies, citizens and civil soviety a stronger role in the development of port and city. Practicing and studying the practice of experimental and innovative approuches are key activities whitin the research programme. We interpret changes in the economy, we suggest ways how to create the preconditions for new business, we intervene in possible experimental settings, and we study ongoing developments. What are the technical, economic, social and governmental enablers that are critical for the development of future proof manufacturing and service industries? How can these enablers be developed so new business and the next economy (circular, local, lateral) can succeed in Rotterdam?