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Novel forms of governance with high levels of civic self-reliance

PhD ceremony:Ms H. (Hiska) Ubels
When:January 30, 2020
Supervisors:prof. dr. ir. B.B. (Bettina) Bock, prof. dr. T. (Tialda) Haartsen
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Spatial Sciences
Novel forms of governance with high levels of civic self-reliance

The underexposed downsides of local self-governance and civic self-reliance

Municipalities in shrinkage regions are keen to emphasize the importance of civic involvement in improving the local quality of life. Self-governance and self-reliance regularly lead to successful projects aimed at sustaining village facilities. Hiska Ubels concludes that innovative forms of self-governance also have their downsides, which have unjustifiably been overlooked. She will be awarded a PhD by the University of Groningen on 30 January.

Ubels investigated a number of such initiatives in Beltrum, Nieuw-Dordrecht, Ee and Ulrum and found that citizen self-governance processes can be somewhat erratic. ‘These initiatives tend to have a positive effect on the self-governing abilities and civic power of the small group of residents who are directly involved,’ says Ubels. ‘But that’s not the whole story. An important lesson from my research is that, in the end, municipalities must always retain ultimate responsibility for local quality of life and welfare.’

For more information please see this press release.