Profiles citizen collectives and public officials

In collaboration with the NWO Smart Governance programme and the Netherlands School of Public Administration (NSOB), RePolis has developed statements on the ideal governance relationship between local governments and citizen collectives. As the relation between collectives and local governments is far from crystalized, we wonder which form of governance is appropriate and desired by the involved actors. The statements are based on four different theoretical perspectives. While the first perspective emphasizes the rule of law, the second perspective emphasizes performance measurement. The third perspective focusses on collaboration and the fourth perspective on support. From the sorting of these statements by municipal officials and initiators of civic collectives a number of profiles arise that show, for example, that officials who are positively skewed towards supporting collectives are outright negative about performance measurement. We will apply this Q-Sorting procedure in different domains to see the similarities and differences.

Right to Challenge Rotterdam

In the UK, Right to Challenge is a way to give citizens the opportunity to challenge a public task. Rotterdam is one of the Dutch cities who applied this approach. The Right to Challenge Rotterdam is being evaluated at this moment and the Erasmus University participates in this evaluation. We participate in the process evaluation of the municipality and we enrich the results by scientific knowledge on bottom-up initiatives and by comparing Rotterdam with other Dutch cities. During the evaluation, the preliminary results are used to adapt the arrangement Right to Challenge Rotterdam.


Evaluation Area Committees City of Rotterdam

In 2016 the Governance model of the City of Rotterdam was evaluated by researchers of the RePolis program, together with reserachers from DRIFT and the University of Groningen. Some of the questions in this evaluation were: how do the area committees stimulate and facilitate citizen initiatives? What do they contribute to the relation between citizen and city? Based upon the report, the city council decided to adjust the model quite significantly to give citizens more opportunities to organize themselves and to influence the agenda of the city government.

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The 2017 International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) conference will be held in Budapest, Hungary from the 19th to the 21st of April. The Repolis team is well represented, with at least five papers and a panel on how community self-organization can be explained by means of comparing different political-administrative traditions in different countries (led by Astrid Molenveld, Jurian Edelenbos and Yannis Papadopoulos).


BEGIN project

The overall objective of the Blue Green Infrastructure through Social Innovation project (BEGIN) is to demonstrate climate change adaptation solutions through blue-green infrastructure (BGI) in cities. Besides that it aims to capture and sustain BGI’s benefits by using social innovation, and to mainstream BGI into urban planning and operation by developing attractive business cases and overcoming governance barriers. The BEGIN project will bring together 10 cities (Antwerp, Ghent, Aberdeen, London Enfield, Bradford, Kent, Dordrecht, Hamburg, Gothenburg, Bergen) with 6 leading research institutes (CIRIA, UNESCO-IHE, University of Sheffield, TUHH, Royal College of Arts and Erasmus University), which are either frontrunners on the topic, or planning large investments during the project’s timeframe.

The approach of BEGIN is to demonstrate the effectiveness of BGI and implement viable BGI solutions at the target sites in partner cities. BEGIN uniquely combines BGI and social innovation for the first time to deliver climate change adaptation solutions. Social innovation will help mobilize problem-solving capacity of a wide range of stakeholders. In comparison to traditional planning processes that often merely inform or consult stakeholders, social innovation in this project also concerns involvement of the stakeholders in the implementation and maintenance phase. The Repolis team will study co-creation and governance in the cities, and will compile best practices and tools for social innovation processes. During the course of three and a half years the Repolis team will assist, monitor and evaluate the cities and their projects, particularly on the topic of social innovation.

Launch of the BEGIN project

At the end of January a new project started, the BEGIN project ( In this Interreg project 10 European cities and 6 research institutes are involved. The working title of this project is: “Blue-green infrastructure through social innovation”.

Because of climate change rainfall is more frequent and voluminous. Cities can’t cope with that amount of rainwater, because their sewage systems are unable to handle that amount. A possible solution to cope with this problem is to invest in blue-green infrastructures, like rainwater harvesting and green corridors. During the next 4 years the cities are going to create blue-green infrastructures and during this process they will be guided by various research institutes. Erasmus University, together with the Royal College of Art, is responsible for the social innovation part of this project. By establishing partnerships between stakeholders, like citizens and municipalities they share the responsibility for implementing and maintaining blue-green infrastructures. By doing so, their long-term existence could be ensured.

This project will be a part of the Repolis programme during the next few years. As part of the BEGIN project the research will focus on (sustainable) partnership between the government and other stakeholders.


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