The DemoS project
In October 2018 residents of IJburg proposed to the Amsterdam alderman of New Democracy, Rutger Groot Wassink to set up innovative participation in which current IJburgers would represent the future residents of Strandeiland to collectively design and develop the sustainable and social new Amsterdam neighborhood of Strandeiland.
The Strandeiland project leader, municipal innovation team (CTO), the local municipality (Stadsdeel), three IJburg residents, researchers, and students of MSc MADE participated in the living lab project ‘DemoS’ from 2018 -2020.
The aim of the participation trajectory was threefold:
- To set up a novel way of collaboration between civil servants and citizens around the participation processes of the design and development of Strandeiland.
- To share the gained insights transparently to inspire other citizens and civil servants.
- To grow a community of potential future Strandeilanders.
The participation team was loosely established on the principles of a living lab with the innovative focus on making city-making processes more inclusive and democratic. This is the first time in Amsterdam that civil servants and citizens work together in this formal agreement whereby citizens are engaged in creating the participatory processes.
Several lessons can be drawn from the project. For instance, the demand for citizen inclusiveness was confirmed and will be continued within the development of the project. However, there is still progress to be made to truly involve everyone (from young to old) in policy processes.
In addition, the processes in which citizens have a say should be carefully considered. For example, care must be taken to ensure that citizens are not unnecessarily burdened by technical matters in which their knowledge and expertise play a lesser role. It is all about finding the balance.
Finally, a system will be introduced that assigns values other than purely financial values to Beach Island. This is to ensure inclusiveness and the participation process.
Do you like to know more about the project? Take a look at the News article about DemoS >>
“We work together in the shared conviction that deepening and connecting not only leads to better housing, but also objectively leads to a better part of the city. Not only in the short term but also in the long term. If you allow the human factor to play a role in what is now a largely technocratic process, you increase the chances of creating a vital part of the city.”
Marinus Knulst, IJburger, member of the participation team 2018 – 2020
As part of the national research program 'Ontwerp en Overheid' by TU Delft, TU Eindhoven and WUR, Els Leclercq and Mo Smit analyzed and described circular neighborhood initiatives in the report 'Waardevolle Wijken'. The participatory process of the development of Strandeiland and the questions that emerged within the DemoS Strandeiland Participation Team prompted this research into circular value creation at both neighborhood and district level.
This particular research aims at getting insight into how locally initiated interventions can close circular flows at the level of the neighborhood and district and contribute towards local value creation and towards an acceleration of the transition towards sustainable urban areas. For this research, six recently implemented Dutch circular initiatives are analyzed following the 'value flower method’, a method specifically developed for this research. The analysis of the ambitions, stakeholders, interventions, and the impact on the spatial environment and the local value creation are visually represented in so called value field maps.
With the results of the research, the research team hopes to offer the DemoS participation team, but also other collectives that want to close loops on a neighborhood or district level, a method, and insights that will support their initiatives and allow them to flourish.
The report was written under the supervision of Ellen van Bueren (TUD) Thijs Asselbergs (TUD) and Marleen Buizer (WUR).