DFI Wednesday Heads to Rotterdam

How do you convince a neighbourhood to take care of an underground trash container? Is it possible to prevent people from leaving their gum everywhere from park benches to sidewalks?

These are among the questions that were addressed by 200 design students from TU Delft at DFI Wednesday on 2 September. The twice-yearly event is coordinated by members of Design for Interaction, a master’s program in the Industrial Design Engineering department.

This edition was organised by Professor Pieter Desmet and designer Ianus Keller, hosted by the municipality of Rotterdam, and presented by entrepreneur Marcel Jongmans.

The morning began with the students breaking into 28 numbered groups to address one of seven different scenarios that are currently burdening officials and maintenance workers in Rotterdam. After visiting key locations across the city, each group then devised a possible solution after receiving feedback from local case experts. The event concluded with a series of short films quickly assembled by the students to demonstrate their proposals.

Livability concerns and civic involvement are among the biggest challenges that modern cities face and Rotterdam is no exception. “It’s hard to get people engaged in something as mundane as trash,” masters student Samuel Verburg noted. “If there’s an ideal way of getting them involved in these kinds of things it’s to make them care for it. That usually happens by showing them what the merits are of things that are already there.”

The proposals devised by the students at DFI Wednesday utilised this method, in addition to several others that ranged from the silly to the serious. One concept would encourage Rotterdam residents to take better care of their neighbourhood’s trash containers by decorating them with vibrant colours and/or adding whimsical facial features so they become more like adorable pets than smelly rubbish bins.

Another group designed a ‘Trash Tree’ to discourage littering. Their innovative creation

could help turn compostable garbage into decorative live flowers. Other proposals included ‘Spit and Hit’, a large wall-mounted target that might turn disposing of unwanted gum into a fun game similar to darts.

After each group’s film was screened, a crew of judges selected four proposals that will be explored further by Rotterdam officials. Among them: a trash container adoption program dubbed ‘’. If put into effect by the city, this proposal would encourage citizens to maintain their neighbourhood’s container via an online platform where they can collaborate with other members of their community.

Editor Redactie

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