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OnderzoekSustainable Society - linking SSH research to societySuSo and ResearchFunded projects

Contract research grants

Katharina Gugerell - Playing with Urban Complexity - funded by the Department of Planning & Environment - Total project budget  
The project Playing with Urban Complexity (Play!UC) of the Department of Planning & Environment received funding from JPI Urban Europe. Play!UC aims to foster the understanding of complex urban problems by combining participatory processes with serious games in a co-located setting. In particular, the project seeks to explore how game mechanics can be used to engage the actor group of young adults to make informed decisions that have an impact on their respective urban carbon footprints. Investigating both existing games and novel game-based approaches, the project partners endeavour to create a tested game mechanics toolbox that can serve as a resource for participatory, game-based urban development scenarios.

The core team includes young researchers from Austria (Grenn City Lab Vienna, and University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria), Belgium (Hasselt University) and the Netherlands - including architects, planners (mobility, landscape planning), behavioral scientists and game designers/developers. Next to the core team, they have a wide range of transdisciplinary partners from different domains:

1. Public administration - City of Vienna / Environmental Department, City of Groningen / Planning Department, Rijkswaterstaat, City of Genk
2. Civil Society - Bottom up initiatives - Labs - Open Lab Vienna, Agenda 21 Office Vienna, Open Lab Ebbinge, Urban gro Lab, Kenniscentrum Vlaamse Steden, DUDO Limburg
3. Research & Art - WAAG Society, game incubator Genk, Ars Electronica Center (requested)
4. Businesses - Grendel games (requested) and Carbon Footprint Platform Austria

Michel Vols - Study into "Slum-lords"- grant from the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations - total project budget €100.000,-
Dishonest property owners ("slum-lords") cause many problems in municipalities. They use their properties for large scale hemp plantations, the maintenance is often bad and they are occasionally involved in housing migrant workers in severe conditions. The situation has a heavy burden on the quality of life in cities. To tackle the problems a statutory instrument was developed with which the local authorities and the public prosecutor's office can deal with the "slum-lords". The research team led by Dr. Michel Vols (Faculty of law) will study the effect of this instrument in the next two years. With the help of an extensive grant from the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations the team will be, among other activities, involved in retention rounds in problematic neighbourhoods and organise several local meetings.


Lise Jans - Local Initiatives on the energy market - funded by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency - total project budget €341.000, -
For 80% funded by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency with an amount of €341,000, Lise Jans will be researching the local initiatives on the energy market. The official title being: “The power of the neighbourhood: the success and the dispersal of bottom-up initiatives on the energy market”. What makes an initiative successful and sustainable? What makes an initiative grow and disperse? To answer these questions the project will look at factors of the individual, and the individual in relation to the neighbourhood and large energy companies and public authorities. In addition the local initiatives themselves will be studied in detail. They hope to discover what the core factors are that predict the success and growth of these initiatives.

The project proposal was written together with Linda Steg, with Jans as the main writer. The role of Enexis is realised through their daughter company Fudura. The latter tries to stimulate local initiatives by providing participants with materials, space and an energy meter. Another partner in the project is the Hanze University of Applied Sciences. Their role is to apply the knowledge gained by the research and test this in practice.

The fundamental part of the research will consist of a longitudinal study among over 50 different local initiatives. The advantage of this project is that is looks at several initiatives and creates a multilevel perspective. This gives the opportunity to control for differences between the initiatives. The main research question is; “Can a local initiative make energy usage more sustainable?”. Based on what is already known within psychology and previous research, the researchers expect an important role for personal values of people. This project however will also examine the importance of social factors in explaining energy behaviour within the context of local initiatives. They expect this context to play a vital role in people’s endured commitment to local initiatives, and through this route in sustainable energy behaviour.

Current research on local initiatives is mainly qualitative. Jans hopes to add a quantitative perspective with this research. But moreover she hopes to give a better insight into the underlying processes that predict successful local initiative. With a growing number of “bottom-up” initiatives these insights can help us understand where they come from and whether they can truly make a change. The main topic is off course energy. However the insights obtained from this research could very well be useful for understanding the functioning of local initiatives in general.

Laatst gewijzigd:29 september 2016 11:00