Learning in Local Collaboration, Groningen – MSc thesis Iris Bekius


By: Iris Bekius, MSc Leisure, Tourism and Environment.

Below a summary of my MSc thesis: Learning in Local Collaboration; A reflexive case study in Groningen, Northern Netherlands.

At the moment, the Dutch government is in a process of deregulation, commonly referred to as participation society. Throughout the country municipalities translate policies in line with this political goal, among which my hometown Groningen. For the municipality of Groningen deregulation includes calling on citizens to come up with ideas for neighbourhood initiatives, which will then be evaluated by civil servants on their potential to succeed.

One initiative that is supported by the municipality is Pad2Wijken (Path2Neighborhoods), initiated by a committee in the neighbourhood Helpman to secure a green zone: a 10 kilometre long ecological edible green walking path through the neighbourhoods Helpman and De Wijert. Since the opening of the path in May 2014 groups of residents, schools and organisations in the neighbourhoods can adopt green plots along the path. On their plot they can create a flower meadow, orchard, vegetable garden, insect hotel, or anything else green and sustainable. Continue reading

Human Values and Place-based Development – WASS seminar by dr Marilyn Hamilton

WASS Seminar Human Values and Place-based Development by dr Marilyn Hamilton: Tuesday August 30th, 13.30-15.30, Venue: Room C75, Leeuwenborch

How can human values be the starting point for community and regional development? How can capacities be built, leadership developed and community learning in multi-cultural places be enhanced? How can we create an integral framework for place-making and place-caring?

This seminar is a unique opportunity to hear about Dr. Hamilton’s work in cities and eco-regions and how she sees that sustainability for both are interlinked as a complex adaptive system. Marilyn Hamilton ‘meshworks’ or weaves people, purpose, priorities, profits, programs and processes to develop strategies for resilience. She facilitates sustainable development programs, develops practical tools and supports multi-stakeholder groups in transforming cities and eco-regions into a glocally resilient ‘meshwork’. She states that we need to balance subjective/ intersubjective capacities of people (‘the inner dimensions’) with objective/interobjective capacities (‘the outer dimensions’).

An example is Abbotsford, which had been headlined by the media as the ‘murder capital of Canada’. Here the youth perceived that community didn’t value them as a resource for community. Community workers wanted Abbotsford’s food-based agricultural sector to “cook up cultural harmony” by renewing opportunities for the youth linked to the food chain. The research project used an integral framework and meta-mapping (based on the theory of ‘spiral dynamics integral’) to identify differences and opportunities for the city and develop a monitor (the vital signs monitor) for strategic planning.

Dr. Marilyn Hamilton is Professor of Sustainable Community Development and Leadership Studies at Royal Roads University in Canada. She is a leader, coach, teacher, researcher and Founder of “Integral City Meshworks Inc” http://www.integralcity.com/, and Jury Member of Globe Sustainable City Awards. She wrote the book, “Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive”.

More information: Ina Horlings, Rural Sociology Group (lummina.horlings@wur.nl) or Anouk Brack, Education and Competence Studies (anouk.brack@wur.nl).