WWiMBY! (Welcome into My Back Yard) is a small foundation created in 1999 that until last year worked in Hoogvliet, a young, highly impoverished town situated in the vicinity of Rotterdam. The principal objective of WiMBY! was to intervene on social issues such as individualisation, exclusion of immigrants or the high number of adolescent mothers in ethnic minorities through architecture, urban planning and educational and artistic projects. At the same time, the foundation promoted the preservation of the green spaces, new forms of communal housing and the participation of the inhabitants in the process of urban regeneration. It was ultimately a question of developing and implementing, through an empirical and pragmatic approach, a series of highly specific projects that would help to establish the foundations for the future of this town.
The initiatives promoted through WiMBY! were numerous and highly diverse in typology. The «Hoogvliet Inside Out» project, for exemple, consisted of taking portraits of hundreds of Hoogvliet inhabitants that were then enlarged and posted around the city in order to awaken a feeling of belonging, pride and identity among the citizens. Under the name of «SchoolParasites», three module-shaped classrooms were installed in order to raise awareness among the citizens of the role of education in the regeneration processes of the social fabric. One of the most wide-ranging projects was the park of Vila Heerlijkheid. This space was conceived as a great eco-friendly leisure area, with sports zones and spaces devoted to different events. The project has grown since its inception thanks to private investment. Currently there is even a lake in the park, which integrates different constructions, small islands, etc. Different associations and foundations work in this space on a permanent basis, undertaking projections, setting up parties and festivals. Heerlijkheid is one of the main centres of activity of the town, a green leisure space managed by the Hoogvliet inhabitants themselves.
The refreshing effect that the WiMBY! project has had on Hoogvliet’s social fabric is obvious. The transformation of its previously lifeless, under-utilised suburbs into one of the most animated areas of the Rotterdam region has made it possible for the town to be taken off a «blacklist» that includes some of the most criminality- and poverty-ridden areas in Holland.
By July 2007 its purpose was achieved and its projects were completed; some of them have been transferred to other organisations that wish to continue the work started by WiMBY! In November 2007 its Tramhuis headquarters were closed and it withdrew from Hoogvliet.