How can students be a catalyst for initiatives in Enschede neighborhoods? We organized a design contest about that question before the summer. And in the coming quartile, we will get to work on the results of that contest (and with additional solutions) in a diverse team of students from different knowledge institutions.

Context / reason
The municipality of Enschede wishes to get out of the Corona crisis well. This means that it wants to invest in good initiatives that keep the city socially and economically strong. Not only large (s), but also at neighborhood level. Especially during the time when people are tired (s) at home, you see residents' initiatives decline. Neighbors still look after each other, but making the neighborhood more beautiful together, with events, initiatives or even residents' businesses - seems to be less of an issue. That is why we asked student teams in a Design Contest in July how they think that students can be a catalyst for initiatives at neighborhood level. We have selected three of the 17 solutions presented as the most appealing . With those solutions, among other things, we would now like to see them tested in two of the Enschede neighborhoods - that a mixed group of students, from different institutions, work with residents to stimulate new initiatives in the neighborhood.

What problem does that solve?
A vital city is a city in which people participate and in which they themselves (also) take responsibility for the quality of life in their neighborhood. This can be expressed in various ways: in sustainability projects, in jointly ensuring safety, in initiatives to live a healthy life, in activities that deal with social cohesion to the establishment of resident companies that also provide economic strength to the neighborhood. We often classify these activities under participation or neighborhood initiatives. These initiatives are declining, and it is often the same people who still start an initiative - be it a neighborhood barbecue or a Tiny forest. We want to stimulate initiatives. And… we want to bring city and student together and learn challenge-based. The neighborhood is pre-eminently the rich learning environment that has everything to offer to experiment and discover new ways in which students can mean something to (their fellow) residents.

How do we get started?
Despite the applicable Corona measures, we will be working on this question in quartile 2, with a team of 4/5 UT and Saxion students and a few students from AKI and ROC van Twente - a total of approximately 12 people. All these students have at least two days a week to work on this issue. They do this for two parts of the city: Velve-Lindehof and Twekkelerveld. A location may be available to use in both districts, but a lot of online collaboration will also be required.

We support the team in group formation and offer guidance in working with design methodologies. However, we leave them quite free to explore the issue, to question those involved, to design solutions, to try them out, to stimulate initiatives and to discover what works and what does not work to encourage residents to take more initiatives. Naturally: using the expertise that the team has on board. We are curious how this works out! You too? Keep an eye on this site and our newsletter.

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