In the presence of Arnoud Molenaar, Chief Resilience Officer of Rotterdam, and Annemieke Kievit, Director of Human Cities AkzoNobel, the activity room of the Valentijn School was painted over. Besides a new coat of paint for the four primary schools in the Bospolder/Tussendijken district in Rotterdam, there are plans to spruce up the nearby Park 1943 in spring, in close collaboration with the local residents. This project will include the refurbishment of the bandstand. In addition, the partnership will explore the options in spring of launching a paint recycling pilot project. This will involve the collection and recycling of unused paint in order to donate it to neighbourhood centres, for instance, or families on social security, or sports clubs.
‘Rotterdam is a city with a unique and distinct character; it is dynamic, full of energy, and never the same. To ensure that Rotterdam can maintain its resilience, the municipal authority joins local residents, civil society organizations, NGOs and local businesses in efforts that will optimally benefit the city, anticipating challenges such as climate change, digitalization, and the energy transition,’ according to Arnoud Molenaar. ‘The city’s resilience depends on the resilience of its citizens.’
‘One of the greatest challenges with respect to the current pace of urbanization is the question as to what we need to do in order to maintain a good quality of life in our cities and to keep them humane,’ according to Annemieke Kievit. ‘Businesses and corporations can actively contribute to this goal. AkzoNobel has operated in the Rotterdam region for decades, and it gives me great pride to say that these initiatives will help to improve the living conditions in Rotterdam as well as its level of comfort for the residents.’
School budgets are often heavily burdened by the cost of maintenance. Since January of 2015, schools have also become responsible for exterior maintenance. In response to this new responsibility, maintenance plans tend to focus on the exterior, and redecorating interior hallways or classrooms is not given the highest priority. Jos de Leeuw, Head Teacher of the Valentijn School, stated: ‘We have been excited about this initiative right from the first talks. It is inspiring to see how we can help each other, and to discover what a difference colour makes to create an inspiring place in our schools for the children.’
Today, the school children were invited to prepare a design for their ideal district landscape. The winning design will be presented to the City of Rotterdam. Prompting this event was Rotterdam’s membership of the global 100 Resilient Cities network, which is facilitated by the Rockefeller Foundation. Like many other companies, AkzoNobel has joined this network for the purpose of contributing to the resilience of these cities.