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Society/business Science Shops Language, Culture and Communication Projecten

Project – Future proof city management

Do you want to develop yourself as a policy maker? Are you interested in new forms of democracy, future proof policy making, and Sustainable Development Goals? This project can be the next step in your career.

About the client

They sweep our streets after a night out, mow our sports fields and ensure that the Noorderplantsoen is tidy. The City Management department of the Municipality of Groningen plays a crucial role in the quality of life in our public space.

The way we see this public space is undergoing major changes. Neat and tidy was the way to go in the past, but now we prefer to keep our grasses high in the spring because it is profitable for our insects. Climate-proof, sustainable and nature-inclusive are the buzzwords when it comes to the public space management, but there are also social trends that contribute to a new vision of our public space. New forms of local democracy, in which residents can actively participate in policy making, for example, give way to a new dynamic between local government and citizens. But what values do residents find important when it comes to managing public space? How do you translate that into municipal (quality) requirements? And how do you communicate that to your employees? These three questions are the core of your team’s research.

Theoretical framework

Together with the employees of the department of City Management (Stadsbeheer) you will work on a theoretical framework for your research. For this framework, you can investigate which large-scale developments in the field of sustainability have an impact on our city’s public space. Which sustainable development goals (SDGs) can you link to the challenges at the local level? Meanwhile, you can look at new forms and ideas of local democracy and participation (governance), and translate these ideas to the specific challenges in city management. At the same time, you combine your knowledge with what is already there: City Management policy papers and team plans.

Talking to residents

To get a grip on the challenges of transition, it is important to talk with residents from a specific neighbourhood. What do they think is important about for public space? Note that certain residents find certain themes more important than others, and that these values also differ per neighbourhood. Some find safety and a neat environment important, others are in favor of nature-inclusive maintenance, and sometimes one thing can stand in the way of the other. The aim of these conversations is to map this complex playing field.

Policy and communication advice

Your desk research, the discussions within Stadsbeheer Groningen residents will culminate in an advisory report for the Municipality of Groningen, in which concrete policy and quality recommendations for value-driven city management are included. Ideally, it should also include how these recommendations can be communicated to the workplace. In a work environment in which many employees do not have a proper degree, it is especially important to clearly communicate the importance of this value transition.

Why this assignment?

  • You have the opportunity to translate major theoretical developments to local policies
  • You experience up close how our municipality works and get a glimpse of the unique dynamics between the government officials and the workplace
  • You contribute to an important transition within our municipality
  • City management is highly practical: a certain policy can have an immediate effect.


With your project group, you will make an inventory of your strengths, how you want to organize the research (which questions you want to answer and which you don’t), and what kind of end products you deliver. That is a report, but also a product that the client needs. In that way you ensure that the work you deliver can actually be used.

Coaching will happen in a team of three:

  • Anna Krämer (Municipality of Groningen): Client, first contact point for the municipality, responsible for coaching on content and feasibility.
  • Sipke de Hoop (Career minor RUG): Grades the end work, coaches the work on content, process and methodology
  • Vincent Hazelhoff (Science Shop RUG): Supports the project’s process, manages the development of an end product both parties are happy with, supports in science communication and operates as a mediator in case of conflict.
Last modified:28 September 2022 3.04 p.m.
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