Friday, 9 May 2014 - 09:02
Container Town for Rotterdam's worst families
The city of Rotterdam is planning to construct an area outside the city in which asocial families will be placed in twenty containers. Leader of Leefbaar Rotterdam, Joost Eerdmans, says that families who are "too intelligent for the psychiatric clinic, not criminal enough for jail, but too dangerous for the neighborhood" will be made to live in this Container Town. This termed 'aso'-village would be constructed with converted shipping containers, and will house families "who cause structural nuisance", Eerdmans says. "For example, residents who threaten, intimidate, insult their neighbors, leave the street dirty and disrupt the peace and living pleasure of others." During their stay in the village, the families will receive supervision from a psychiatrist. "The aso's have fun with it as well", Eerdmans says. "They learn to behave themselves there." The container placements are not permanent, and are only meant to rehabilitate the families before returning them to the city. However, Eerdmans does not mean Container Town to be a paradise for antisocial behavior to run free. "The residents are of course not treated inhumanely, but it can be unpleasant behind those gates. Their free living pleasure is limited." This idea comes from Denmark, where cities have placed Skaeve Huse on their outskirts. "With good results", Eerdmans says. In the Netherlands, there are also Container Towns in Amsterdam, Doetinchem, Tilburg and Utrecht. As of now, there is a problem in the planning as a space needs to be found where the containers can be constructed and not cause a nuisance to Rotterdam residents. "The plan is to place the containers in an empty grassland, far from the inhabited world. That should work. Rotterdam is big enough." Rotterdam fractions don't see the idea as a sustainable future. Leefbaar Rotterdam's new coalition partner Hugo de Jonge of the CDA called the plan "completely unrealistic". Judith Bokhove of GroenLinks said that Eerdemans should become "alderman for the Efteling" with his plans. In Amsterdam, these Container Towns were also introduced among criticism of the idea's anti-liberal feel. They were called "scum villages" echoing Geert Wilders' assertion that recidivists be sent to "a village for scum", the Guardian reports. A spokesperson for the municipality of Amsterdam, however, said the villages are there to protect the city's liberal values. Because the containers are only equipped with the basic, and were used as student accommodation, the assurance was that asocial individuals were not "rewarded" by being given a better place to live.