The L-Flat in Vollenhove, Zeist belongs to the biggest gallery flats in western Europe. About 2000 people from over 60 different nationalities inhabit the flat. The L-Flat was built in the sixties as a response to the enormous housing shortage after World War II and in 1968, the first people took their residence in the flat. Since it’s opening, problems have been signalled concerning vandalism, criminality and contamination of the environment by garbage. Due to the fast in- and outflow of inhabitants and its multi-culturality, social cohesion among inhabitants remains low. Especially the contamination of the environment due to garbage and underlying causes has triggered the municipality of Zeist to start an action research to tackle this issue together with inhabitants and other stakeholders. In order to give respondents space to express their main issues and identify underlying issues, the subject has been broadened from ‘garbage’ to ‘improving living quality’.
Project details Vollenhove in the Picture
The Participatory Action Research project is an intensive 13-week cooperation between 7Senses and the municipality of Zeist, in which two 7Senses – action researchers participate and 6 municipality employees are ‘trained on the job’ in action research by 7Senses. In a multi-disciplinary team they performed Participatory Action Research in the L-Flat to boost community empowerment of residents and local organisations while at the same time work on their own personal and professional development.
|Project name||Vollenhove in the Picture|
|Start date||January 2018|
|Coordinators||Madelon Eelderink, Mariëlle Sluiter, Jorieke Vermeulen|
|Number of action researchers||Eight|
Each Participatory Action Research starts from a community issue, addressed by its problem owners at location. As such, we make sure the action research is based on local demand rather than donor demand. Together with these local stakeholders, we design the action research in a way that fits the local context, from the problem framing up to methodology and concept definitions.
For over 30 years, the L-Flat in Zeist suffers from contamination due to litter, where garbage is often thrown from balconies. This turns out to be one of the main annoyances of its residents. Presumably, factors such as low social cohesion, a large in- and outflux of inhabitants, quintes, low social economic status, a sense of unsafety and a bad image of the l-flat directly related to this problematique. This lowers the living quality of residents.
To improve the living quality of the L-Flat residents. By researching together with locals the influencing factors of living quality and facilitating the co-creation and implementation of a Community-specific Action Plan (CAP). The CAP will be focused on tackling the changeable influencing factors of living quality.
In what way can living quality of L-Flat residents be optimized, in such way that residents and other stakeholders can realize this among themselves?
Current situation. What are, according to residents and other stakeholders, causes and effects of impaired living quality?
Related projects. What is the effect of past projects to improve living quality and what projects are currently active?
Assets. What assets (talents, expertise, manpower, etc) are currently present in the L-Flat and among other stakeholders?
Social relations. How do social relations among residents and between residents and other stakeholders look like?
Desired situation. How does life in the L-Flat look like, according to residents and stakeholders, when living quality is optimal?
Solution and requirements. What is needed to reach optimal living quality for residents, and of these requirements are within their circle of influence to tackle?
Intrinsic motivation. Under which circumstances and under which conditions are residents and other stakeholders willing and able to improve living quality together?
Future. How can the continuance of the CAP to optimize living quality be sustained?
Interviews, seasonal diagrams, focus groups, photovoice, Appreciative Inquiry.
Litter, social cohesion, living quality, image
Each action research delivers direct outcomes for the local community on the addressed issue: we can share how many people have been reached, what their perspective is on the current and desired situation and what final Community Action Plan (CAP) they have co-created and implemented. In a later stage, local stakeholders will evaluate the impact of the CAP. Since this project is currently running, the outcomes and impact of this action research are not yet clear. As soon as we have results it will be presented here.
The impact of this project has not been measured yet. As soon as we have results of the impact measurement, it will be presented here.