Rijkswaterstaat - Social Design

When “citizen participation” becomes co-creation

Governmental bodies are looking to collaborate with citizens to improve the quality of life. VanBerlo’s Social Design team supports them by going infield. We helped the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (Rijkswaterstaat) to establish Team Oirschot, a shared vision from the people of the village of Oirschot.

Applying Social Design to establish a shared community vision

Social Design is pretty much like it sounds; locally-based design, geared towards affecting societal change and adding to the wellbeing and livelihood of those living and working in the surrounding areas. VanBerlo used Social Design to turn the InnovA58 infrastructure project in Oirschot into a more all-encompassing experience.

"I am very satisfied with what we have achieved from this social design process. […] I think that when dealing with a complex problem with many stakeholders, whom you can offer something, as a prerequisite, social design is a perfect method to work with"

Marco Bakermans

Planning Study Manager InnovA58, Rijkswaterstaat

"Social Design includes multiple parties. Here it was our client Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the municipality of Oirschot, Province of North Brabant and people of Oirschot. It was our exciting and rewarding challenge to get everyone together, to support them in understanding each other’s needs"

Julie Hornix

Design Researcher, VanBerlo

We put the first concrete steps of the empathic research into play by way of three focus groups, which included residents and local business leaders.
Using the reframing method; what if you’d form a sports team? We decided together to pursue this, building trust and forming a team; Team Oirschot.
During a club evening, we explained the project and announced the idea of Team Oirschot to all citizens, to better involve them in sharing their needs towards the project.
Together with Team Oirschot; the people of the village of Oirschot (citizens, associations and entrepreneurs), the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, municipality of Oirschot and Feddes/Olthof landscape architects, VanBerlo rolled up their sleeves and got to work.
To enable, summarise and focus the vivid and even emotional team discussions, we instantly visualised relevant issues and their corresponding solution scenarios during the sessions. In order to really zoom in and document the process, our designers created and presented detailed A58 cross sections and sketches.
All the hard work payed off when we got to witness our social design projections being unveiled to Karin Weustink (Director of Network and development of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment) and Caspar van Hoek (Councillor of the municipality) by team Oirschot, to establish a long lasting positive change in the community.

Establishing positive change

In five sessions, Team Oirschot embarked on an adventure, coached by VanBerlo and supported by experts to establish the shared vision. Our goal with this project was to establish a long lasting and positive change in the community. The ideas and projections were presented to Karin Weustink (Director of Network and development of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment) and Caspar van Hoek (Councillor of the municipality).

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