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'Making an impact in the neighbourhood depends entirely on the students themselves'

During the kick-off meeting on Wednesday 29 March, master students taking part in the Thesis Workshop The Hague Southwest presented their thesis ideas to stakeholders from the neighbourhood.

The students were challenged to make sure that their research was suited for a wider audience and encouraged to think critically about their thesis design from a practical point of view. During the event, stakeholders were informed about ongoing research and allowed to provide feedback. A wide variety of stakeholders attended the presentations: from residents from The Hague Southwest to clients of housing associations. When all students had presented their thesis ideas, there was room for discussion. The event took place at SAMS Xaraga, the venue of local entrepreneur and former LDE GMD student, Ruşen Koç.

Contributing to the neighbourhood in an innovative way

Various students from different courses take part in the Thesis Workshop to make sure that all kinds of issues from The Hague Southwest neighbourhoods are addressed. From 'densification and participation' to 'municipal poverty policy'. Students, from TU Delft, Erasmus University, and Leiden University, all deal with their questions from their own discipline. To encourage students to remain connected with society before, during, and after their thesis, they must make sure they are able to ‘translate’ their questions for residents and neighbourhood professionals.

The kick-off meeting demonstrated once again that an exchange of knowledge and expertise between students, stakeholders, and residents in The Hague Southwest is a good way to create opportunities. It gives students the chance to make an innovative contribution to the issues at play in the neighbourhood. Ruşen Koç, the host of the kick-off meeting, knows from his own experience as a student that 'making an impact in the neighbourhood depends entirely on the students themselves'.

Words from the students

Joost van Driesum, TU Delft student Urbanisation
Thesis subject: Densification and participation

The kick-off meeting helped him to get into contact with relevant people from the field. It also motivated him to produce an interesting and relevant research project: 'I get the feeling that something’s being done with it'.

David Tiemstra, TU Delft Industrial Design student
Thesis subject: Digital Twins

For David, the kick-off meeting was a useful opportunity to talk to policy makers and hear what their intentions are for The Hague Southwest. In addition, the practical feedback adds value to the description of his research design.

An insightful experience

For the students, the kick-off meeting is a learning experience to help them move forward with their theses. By talking to residents, policy staff, or neighbourhood professionals, they gain more clarity on the context and topic they are working on. By creating this opportunity, the Thesis Workshop provides a relevant connection between students' research and the needs in The Hague Southwest. In the coming months, the students will collect all the necessary information in order to communicate the results from their thesis back to the stakeholders during the final meeting after the summer.

Interested in attending the final meeting after the summer? Send an email to m.schalk@fgga.leidenuniv.nl and we will put you on the invitation list.

Text: Marnix Schalk
Images: Nesie Wang


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