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Keywords:

  • Flagship project;
  • waterfront regeneration;
  • resident perception;
  • Rotterdam;
  • survey

ABSTRACT

Flagships, also referred to as megaprojects, and frequently involving waterfront regeneration, are a common form of urban redevelopment. Their goals are often aimed at an outside audience of tourists, investors and potential (high income) residents. While the target may be external, the ways in which these spaces are perceived by the local population is an important, and, as yet, under-researched, area. Many scholars suggest that flagships have a negative impact on cities, but their research stops short of asking local residents what they think themselves. This paper attempts to redress this imbalance in the literature by analysing a survey of residents' perceptions towards the Kop van Zuid in Rotterdam, a large waterfront regeneration project. The survey included residents in different neighbourhoods across the city to determine the roles played by spatial proximity, and socio-economic and demographic variables. Responses were more positive than expected, particularly among poorer residents in the vicinity of the flagship. We argue this has to do with the quality of life enhancements which the Kop van Zuid has brought. This can offer some insightful lessons when regenerating brownfield sites in the future.