20 September 2019 • Martijn Tamboer
Book presentation and conference ‘Places of hope and change’
The conference ‘Places of hope and change’, which took place on Thursday 19 September at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, hosted a presentation and review of the book of the same name. Five questions for the co-author and professor of Metropolitan Development Vincent Smit.
Places of hope and change; what kind of places are these?
“A food garden in Rotterdam, a community centre in The Hague, a shop converted into a community space in Amsterdam. Places where residents can develop their own community initiatives. These are the places of hope and change. It is encouraging to see the strength in these.”
Why is that encouraging?
You see citizens starting with their own vegetable garden and building it into a neighbourhood park. When creating policies we see that there is not only a focus on the financial aspect, but also on the added social value. After the financial crisis a lot of community resources emerged, whereas the government actually took a step back. Our book describes ten case studies that showcase these kinds of community collectives.
Is this a broad project?
This is a partnership between various research groups associated with eleven educational institutions. The book was written by thirty authors who conducted extensive neighbourhood research.
And what was the outcome?
The government is unable to ‘simply’ manage the country. There are many different community initiatives and municipalities should be able to cooperate with them. But it’s often a matter of trial and error.
Interesting food for thought?
Absolutely! Especially for our Public Administration, Social or Facility Management students. They can learn how a public administrator deals with parties that can be quite stubborn but also have an increasingly more prominent seat at the table and provide input on the organisation of their community.
The book will be available free of charge at the conference, from 1.15 pm to 4.45 pm.
For more information about the book, see the website of Platform Stad en Wijk. The Hague University of Applied Sciences is initiator and coordinator of this platform.