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Access_open Principes voor goed lokaal bestuur in de digitale samenleving

Een aanzet tot een normatief kader

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2019
Auteurs Prof. dr. Albert Meijer, Dr. Mirko Tobias Schäfer en Dr. Martiene Branderhorst
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article presents a normative framework for good local governance in the digital society. We build on the five principles of Frank Hendriks (laid down in an article in Urban Affairs Review in 2014): participation, effectiveness, learning ability, procedural justice and accountability. An analysis of these five principles leads to the refinement of these principles for the digital society. The overarching points are that attention is needed for the possibility of human contact, that avoiding discrimination must be central, that higher demands are made with regard to speed of action, that the principles increasingly apply to networks of organizations, and that the principles increasingly apply to the design of systems. This overview thus provides concrete tools for organizations that want to reflect with citizens and stakeholders on the extent to which they are able to achieve good local governance in the digital society.


Prof. dr. Albert Meijer
Prof. dr. A.J. Meijer is hoogleraar Publieke Innovatie aan de Universiteit Utrecht en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Dr. Mirko Tobias Schäfer
Dr. M.T. Schäfer is universitair hoofddocent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het departement Media- en Cultuurwetenschappen.

Dr. Martiene Branderhorst
Dr. E.M. Branderhorst is gemeentesecretaris en algemeen directeur in de gemeente Gouda en lid van de Raad voor het Openbaar Bestuur (ROB).

    Governance is a human activity and is therefore unquestionably about relationships. Relationships between public and private parties. Relationships in existing steering-oriented structures (the political administrator as guardian, magistrate) and also relationships in new forms of cooperation that are often focused on good relationships (government participation). Public-private partnerships are inevitably accompanied by conflicting interests that place different demands on interactions. One-size-fits-all does not fit there, but customization is required, with constant alignment with what is – and what is not (yet). And so the ability to make contact requires much more attention, and from there to explore and grasp perspectives. How do you work on the tensions that you find on your way? It is there that the method of communication influences how the process of cooperation and steering proceeds. This is not a matter of whether-or, but and-and. Both perspectives are characterized by a different relationship with those involved and a different way of contact and interaction. This article focuses on contact from a collaborative perspective. The classical administrative side already has a rich history, while the cooperation side is often still an unknown and unexplored territory. The central question is: how can you, as a director and public professional, deliver tailor-made solutions and therefore adapt to complex tasks? The authors look at complex situations from a communicative perspective and they introduce ‘appreciative communication’ as the art of aligning with what really moves people, as a frame of view of the inconvenience caused by the differences present. They highlight a number of generic tensions that can arise in cooperation situations. A case study into the approach to regional innovation in the field of mobility serves as an illustration.


Dr. Els van der Pool
Dr. E.M.C. van der Pool is lector Human Communication Development bij de Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen (HAN).

Dr. Guido Rijnja
Dr. G.W. Rijnja is adviseur communicatiebeleid bij de Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst, Ministerie van Algemene Zaken.

    Exploration of the future is about systematically exploring future developments and the possible consequences for an organization or issue. The demand for future explorations at local policy level has increased in recent years. This article focuses on the relationship between participatory future exportations and local strategic policy processes. On the basis of four case studies, the meaning of participatory foresight studies for local policy processes was investigated. The research, which was carried out as action research, shows that future explorations in local strategic policy processes can be significant in different ways: they provide new knowledge, they promote learning in an integral and future-oriented manner and they encourage social learning processes that are independent of the content, which is valuable for group dynamics. In addition, future explorations can be useful in different phases of the policy cycle. Despite the fact that participatory explorations of the future can be meaningful in local strategic policy processes, there is still a bridge between the method of future exploration on the one hand and policy processes and organizations on the other. The research shows that a demand-driven approach starting from the needs of the participants in the policy process and responding to the culture, structure and working method of the organization is a promising approach. At the same time, the research shows that there are several factors that need to be considered in order to achieve a stronger interrelatedness of future exploration and policy. The policy practice and the exploratory practice seem to be gradually evolving towards each other. On the one hand, policy practice is becoming more rational, transparent and analytical in nature through the use of future explorations, at least in policy preparation. The explorations promote substantive discussions on policy agendas and policy intentions. On the other hand, they are becoming more policy oriented through more reasoning from the policy practice in terms of process design and knowledge needs of the policy process.


Dr. Nicole Rijkens-Klomp
Dr. N. Rijkens-Klomp is in 2016 gepromoveerd aan de Universiteit Maastricht bij prof. Pim Martens, met dr. Ron Cörvers als haar co-promotor. Ze heeft sinds 2004 een eigen bedrijf in Antwerpen op het gebied van toekomstverkenning (foresight & design studio Panopticon). Daarnaast werkt ze aan het Scientific Institute for Sustainable Development (ICIS) van de Universiteit Maastricht.

Dr. Ron Cörvers
Dr. R.J.M. Cörvers is wetenschappelijk directeur van het Scientific Institute for Sustainable Development (ICIS) van de Universiteit Maastricht.
Artikel

Access_open HASHTAG POLITIE

Hoe politieagenten omgaan met waardeconflicten die ontstaan door sociale media

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2018
Auteurs Prof. dr. Gjalt de Graaf en Prof. dr. Albert Meijer
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Social media changes society and causes new dilemmas in local government. Little is known about the nature of these conflicts and the way government organizations deal with them. Therefore the authors of this article have carried out empirical research into the manner in which police officers deal with value conflicts concerning the use of social media. Their research shows that the well-known conflicts in the literature between effectiveness and efficiency and between effectiveness and legality were also dominant in this case, but that many more conflicts than are known from other studies concerned transparency and participation. In addition they discovered that the bias strategy was often used, which suggests that a conservative response is preferable in a situation with a lot of dynamics. In this way the research shows how government officials deal with the tension between a stable organization and a dynamic environment and look for appropriate forms of coping at this specific interface. The authors stress in their recommendations that the further strengthening of the learning ability of organizations deserves attention: not just to find the right way to deal with value conflicts, but to be able to find new ways to deal with the new conflicts that arise.


Prof. dr. Gjalt de Graaf
Prof. dr. G. de Graaf is hoogleraar Integriteit van Academisch Onderwijs aan de Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit te Amsterdam en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Prof. dr. Albert Meijer
Prof. dr. A.J. Meijer is hoogleraar Publieke Innovatie aan de Universiteit Utrecht en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.
Artikel

Waarderen of veroordelen?

De betekenis van kritische burgers die niet meepraten voor lokale participatieprocessen

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2018
Auteurs Drs. Christine Bleijenberg, Prof. dr. Noëlle Aarts en Dr. Reint Jan Renes
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    To be able to realize the ambitions of citizen participation, diversity of participants is a crucial condition. At the same time excluding groups of citizens, amongst them critical citizens, is inextricably linked with citizen participation. In this article in the series ‘Local democratic audit’, the authors wonder what the exclusion of critical citizens means for the process and outcome of citizen participation. Through two empirical studies during a spatial intervention in different municipalities in the Netherlands, they investigated how people involved in a participation process spoke about critical citizens and their manifestations. The results show that the way these critical citizens are discussed either legitimizes exclusion or questions it critically. The legitimization of exclusion is detrimental to the support for spatial intervention. The problematization of exclusion results in a responsive approach to critical citizens, which is beneficial for both the course of the participation process and for the support for the spatial intervention.


Drs. Christine Bleijenberg
Drs. C. Bleijenberg is promovendus aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen en is verbonden aan het lectoraat Crossmediale Communicatie in het Publieke Domein van de Hogeschool Utrecht.

Prof. dr. Noëlle Aarts
Prof. dr. M.N.C. Aarts is hoogleraar Socio-Ecological Interactions aan het Institute for Science in Society (ISiS) van de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

Dr. Reint Jan Renes
Dr. R.J. Renes is lector Crossmediale Communicatie in het Publieke Domein aan de Hogeschool Utrecht en universitair hoofddocent aan de Wageningen Universiteit.

    In administrative practice as well as in administrative science administrative innovation is a much desired good. In this article the author makes an attempt to describe the good, or the better, that can be pursued with administrative innovation, much sharper than has been done in the past. The result is a substantive framework for qualifying and evaluating administrative innovations. The article arises from a special interaction research, that started with a question from administrative practice (about the leading principles for administrative innovation in the Dutch municipality of Breda) and ended in a confrontation between desiderata from administrative practice on the one hand and foundations from administrative science on the other hand. Finally, these six leading principles emerged out of the investigation: responsiveness, productivity, involvement, counter-pressure, creativity, and good governance. The author also discusses how the resulting framework can be used and understood. The framework is robust because it not only is theoretically (the literature on governance and democratic innovation) inspired and founded, but also recognizable and manageable for administrative practice.


Frank Hendriks
Prof. dr. F. Hendriks is hoogleraar bestuurskunde aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.
Artikel

Greep op het ongrijpbare?

Een onderzoek naar nieuwe vormen van controle en verantwoording in een samenwerkend lokaal bestuur

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2017
Auteurs Prof. dr. Bas Denters, Dr. Pieter-Jan Klok en Anieke Kranenburg BSc
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In recent years in the Netherlands, a lot of attention has been paid to the question of how municipal councils maintain inter-municipal cooperation, which has also become increasingly important because of decentralizations in the social domain. Other forms of collaborating governance have received much less attention. This article focuses primarily on these, until now, largely underexposed forms of collaborative governance because, apart from inter-municipal cooperation and participation of Dutch municipalities in different organizations based on private law, modern municipalities maintain a variety of cooperative relations with organizations in local society. The municipal board and the mayor often play a key role in the web of these cooperative relations, but what is the role of the municipal council? In what way do municipal councils in the Netherlands institutionally shape control and accountability in (intra-municipal) collaborative governance? The article gives an overview of the rules of the game that are currently being used in Dutch municipalities for the control and accountability of intra-municipal collaborative governance. This inventory may be a point of reference for municipal councils, individual councilors and registrars of the council in their search for new rules of the game for control and accountability for different forms of ‘displaced’ local governance. The aim of this broad inventory is to outline possible interesting and innovative forms of control and accountability; it is not about proven ‘best practices’.


Prof. dr. Bas Denters
Prof. dr. S.A.H. Denters is hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit Twente, wetenschappelijk directeur van de Nederlandse Onderzoeksschool Bestuurskunde (NOB) en hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Dr. Pieter-Jan Klok
Dr. P.J. Klok is universitair docent Beleidsprocessen bij de vakgroep Public Administration van de Universiteit Twente (Faculteit Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences).

Anieke Kranenburg BSc
A. Kranenburg BSc doet de master European Studies (double degree met de Universiteit Münster) en de master Public Administration aan de Universiteit Twente.

    This article investigates the state of affairs of local participation and participation wishes, and its backgrounds. The central question is if those who participate a lot are also those who wish to have more participation or not. It is not possible to simply summarize the developments in time in terms of ‘less and less’ participation and ‘more and more’ wishes. Since the seventies the turnout in municipal elections has fallen (against fluctuations without trend at the national elections) and collective actions for local goals have remained at the same level (against a fall in collective actions for supralocal goals). In 2016 also less people have appeared to participate non-electorally (19% local activists) than electorally (54% turnout in 2014). In addition the support for new opportunities for participation is larger than the actual use of existing opportunities. Political participants are almost as often as non-participants in favour of new opportunities for participation. In line with previous research the authors find several social and political attitudes in support of promoting more opportunities for participation. For participants as well as non-participants it applies that support for more opportunities is promoted by ‘positive’ characteristics (like interest in local politics, worries about the environment) as well as ‘negative’ ones (dissatisfaction with local democracy, disbelief in the responsiveness of councillors).


Prof. dr. Paul Dekker
Prof. dr. P. Dekker is hoofd van de onderzoekssector Participatie, Cultuur en Leefomgeving van het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau en hoogleraar Civil Society aan de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Dr. Josje den Ridder
Dr. J.M. den Ridder is wetenschappelijk medewerker bij het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau.
Artikel

Lokale verkiezingen: een lokaal of nationaal feest der democratie?

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2017
Auteurs Dr. Eefje Steenvoorden, Babs Broekema MSc en Dr. Jeroen van der Waal
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The term ‘second-order election’ indicates some elections are less important for citizens than national elections. This article investigates to what extent that applies for the Dutch elections of the municipal council. The research builds on literature about the second-order nature of the local elections in the Netherlands. The authors focus on the question to what extent the Dutch elections of the municipal council are second-order elections, by comparing voting at local and national elections in different ways. They compare four aspects of local and national voting: the turnout, the underlying factors that explain the turnout, the factors that explain voting for local parties, and the national or local character of the voting motives at the municipal elections in 2014. The results do not give a clear answer to the question to which extent municipal elections are locally oriented. The four different angles all deliver ambiguous patterns. So municipal elections indeed partly have a second-order nature as previously argued and shown. Nevertheless, we must not underestimate local affinity and political involvement. The fact that some of the citizens are interested in local politics, local parties and in local election electoral programmes is pointing out a local political dynamics.


Dr. Eefje Steenvoorden
Dr. E.H. Steenvoorden is universitair docent politieke sociologie bij de vakgroep Sociologie aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Babs Broekema MSc
B. Broekema MSc is promovendus aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. Aan dezelfde universiteit deed ze een master Bestuurskunde, Beleid en Politiek.

Dr. Jeroen van der Waal
Dr. J. van der Waal is universitair hoofddocent politieke sociologie bij de vakgroep Sociologie aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

    In a final view the other guest editor draws conclusions on local democracy based on the analyses of the Local Election Research presented in this special issue. The good news is that the basic attitude of the Dutch people about their local democracy, their local institutions and their local government is quite positive. A picture of trust and satisfaction arises from the data that are available. However, the picture is much less positive if we look at the local democracy from the perspective of the monitoring citizen. The outcomes of municipal elections are largely dictated by national party preferences, which is both harmful for the process of representation before and the control and accountability after the election of the municipal council. In addition, the level of political participation at the local level is rather low and the participants are not a balanced reflection of the population, even in new forms of participation that are especially designed to break the dominance of the permanent participation elite.


Prof. dr. Tom van der Meer
Prof. dr. T.W.G. van der Meer is hoogleraar Politicologie aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam en sinds 2015 codirecteur van het Nationaal Kiezersonderzoek.
Artikel

Non-participatie in de doe-democratie

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2017
Auteurs Gideon Broekhuizen MSc LLB en Dr. Ank Michels
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Research into citizens’ initiatives usually focuses on those who already participate. In this article the central question is how those who do not participate yet can be motivated to take part in citizens’ initiatives. To investigate this the authors used vignettes in which four key motives for participation in citizens’ initiatives are linked to three types of citizens’ initiatives. The results of this research show that people are more likely to take part in an initiative if a call is made to altruism. Usually it is also in general easier for small-scale, more applied citizens’ initiatives to motivate people. Non-participants will be more inclined, certainly in the presence of a specific local problem and if they are asked, to respond in a positive manner to an invitation to take part. For more abstract citizens’ initiatives, like a citizens summit in which not one single specific problem is addressed, it is much more difficult to motivate people to take part. Participation in citizens’ initiatives indeed increases the quality of local democracy, but only if the (local) government doesn’t take over these initiatives. Also those who do not yet take part in citizens’ initiatives have a positive and constructive attitude towards them.


Gideon Broekhuizen MSc LLB
G.R. Broekhuizen MSc LLB deed een onderzoeksmaster bestuurskunde en organisatiewetenschap aan de Universiteit Utrecht en een bachelor bestuurskunde en recht aan de Universiteit Leiden. Hij schreef zijn scriptie over non-participatie in de doe-democratie.

Dr. Ank Michels
Dr. A.M.B. Michels is universitair docent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap (USBO).

    The often gloomy analyses of democratic representation at the local level are frequently directed at the problems with parties and elections. Direct participation is not a good alternative because only certain people who are already politically active use it. However, with the help of the concept ‘representative claim’ and based on two qualitative case studies of decentralizations in the social domain, the authors show that there are other representative people besides elected politicians. These self-appointed, non-elected representatives may advocate on behalf of vulnerable groups who themselves do not have a strong voice in politics. In addition this study shows that elected representatives, like political parties and local counselors, can strengthen their representative role by: (1) cooperating better with the non-elected representatives, (2) highlighting their representational claims and the basis of these claims, and (3) strengthening their responsiveness towards their support base through authorization and other accountability structures other than elections. In this way the democratic representation in municipalities is reinforced and may be stronger than the often gloomy analyses suggest.


Dr. Hester van de Bovenkamp
Dr. H.M. van de Bovenkamp is universitair hoofddocent aan het instituut Beleid & Management Gezondheidszorg (iBMG) aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Dr. Hans Vollaard
Dr. J.P. Vollaard is universitair docent Nederlandse en Europese politiek binnen het Instituut Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden.
Artikel

Lokale democratie doorgelicht: inleiding

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2016
Auteurs Prof. dr. Bas Denters en Prof. dr. Marcel Boogers
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In recent years, attention has increasingly been focussing on the quality of local democracy. Through the transfer of central government tasks to the municipalities, the importance of local government for citizens in the Netherlands has increased. This also places higher demands on the way local democracy functions. For various reasons, it is not easy to meet these demands. The debate on the quality of local democracy can be reduced to two basic questions: what is local and what is democracy? Instead of answering these questions, the authors of the article (editors of this new series) demonstrate what knowledge is needed to do this. They outline broadly the agenda for a local democratic audit, for which this article is an introduction. After a short theoretical discussion of the importance of local democracy, the authors point out those knowledge gaps that still exist in their opinion. They do so on the basis of current research. After identifying the key relations in local democracy, they present an agenda for further research.


Prof. dr. Bas Denters
Prof. dr. S.A.H. Denters is hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit Twente, wetenschappelijk directeur van de Nederlandse Onderzoekschool Bestuurskunde (NOB) en hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Prof. dr. Marcel Boogers
Prof. dr. M.J.G.J.A. Boogers is hoogleraar Innovatie en Regionaal Bestuur aan de Universiteit Twente, senior adviseur Openbaar Bestuur bij BMC en tevens redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.
Artikel

Hoe staat de lokale democratie in Nederland ervoor?

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2016
Auteurs Prof. dr. Klaartje Peters en Drs. Vincent van Stipdonk
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Is local democracy in the Netherlands equipped for its mission? There is confusion and disagreement about the answer to this question. How people assess existing democratic practices is strongly influenced by one of the three main perspectives: representative democracy, participative (deliberative) democracy or ‘do-democracy’ (associative democracy). But to be able to have this discussion in the first place, empirical knowledge is required about the state of democracy at the local level. In this article (apart from the introduction, the first in a series on the local democratic audit) the authors bring together the available research data and organize these data with the help of David Easton’s system model: from input of citizens and civil society via throughput to output and finally feedback again in the political system. The research presented offers some insight in the state of local democracy, although it is not possible to give a final assessment. That depends on the perspective on democracy chosen, but it is also not possible because of the fragmented and incomplete nature of the research on local democracy in the Netherlands. The authors advocate contributing to these discussions with more empirical knowledge. The overview in this article shows that there is work to be done in this respect.


Prof. dr. Klaartje Peters
Prof. dr. K. Peters is zelfstandig onderzoeker en publicist en voor één dag in de week bijzonder hoogleraar Lokaal en regionaal bestuur aan de Universiteit Maastricht.

Drs. Vincent van Stipdonk
Drs. V.P. van Stipdonk is zelfstandig Raadgever & Redacteur en tevens redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    Local authorities know for some time from experience with partnerships with local communities in the area of sustainable development that the urgency of climate change increases and that citizens develop into an equal partner. The convergence of these two motivations asks for an innovative way of acting, in which the performance of local authorities is a crucial factor for the ultimate success of local sustainable energy projects in which citizens are actively involved or will be involved. This article exposes the ways in which local authorities innovate with policy for the support of active citizenship in the production of locally generated sustainable energy. The article also explores the barriers that arise. The authors analyse two cases on different levels of government; ‘The Energy-workplace’ (in the Dutch province Fryslân) and ‘The Armhoede sustainable energy landscape’ (in the Dutch municipality Lochem). The cases show that policy innovations crystallize as well at ‘arm’s length’ distance as in the direct sphere of influence of the (local) authority. However, innovation takes place by the grace of the space in the existing institutional framework and the political (and administrative) system. Formal guidelines (like policy or regulation), persons, and informal practices of the traditional policy implementation may hinder a productive interaction between (active) citizens and government.


Beau Warbroek MSc
W.D.B. Warbroek MSc is promovendus aan het Department of Governance and Technology for Sustainability (CSTM) van de Universiteit Twente en de stichting University Campus Fryslân (UCF).

Dr. Thomas Hoppe
Dr. T. Hoppe is als universitair hoofddocent verbonden aan de Multi-Actor Systems-vakgroep (MAS-POLG) van de Technische Universiteit Delft.
Artikel

Hoe divers, invloedrijk en deliberatief is een G1000?

Het ontwerp van een burgertop en de verwezenlijking van democratische waarden

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 1 2016
Auteurs Dr. Ank Michels en Dr. Harmen Binnema
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In imitation of the G1000 in Belgium in the Netherlands G1000-meetings were held in Amersfoort, Kruiskamp, Uden and Groningen and a citizens summit in Amsterdam with a similar design. In this article the authors investigate the design of these citizens summits and their contribution to a number of important democratic values. What is the diversity of the participants, the influence on policies and the quality of the discussions during the citizen summit? Their research shows that the diversity of the group of participants is rather limited. The selection method that is chosen, whether a lottery selection or an open invitation, doesn’t make much difference for the diversity of the group of participants. In addition the influence of citizens summits on policies and politics is nearly absent. The subjects that come forward at citizens summits hardly ever come back in the local policies, not even at the citizens summit in Uden, where the municipal council has taken the initiative to organize a G1000. Finally, in general the participants qualify the discussions at the table during citizens summits as constructive and inspiring. The specific form of the dialogue has only little influence on the extent to which the participants feel themselves heard and feel free to say whatever they want.


Dr. Ank Michels
Dr. A.M.B. Michels is universitair docent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap (USBO).

Dr. Harmen Binnema
Dr. H. Binnema is universitair docent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap (USBO). Hij is ook programmacoördinator van de masteropleiding Bestuur en Beleid voor professionals.
Artikel

De duurzaamheid van burgerinitiatieven

Een empirische verkenning

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2015
Auteurs Malika Igalla BSc en Dr. Ingmar van Meerkerk
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Citizens’ initiatives are the focus of public attention as part of the popular ‘do-democracy’ (associative democracy). However, it is not clear to what extent citizens are able to shape self-organization in a sustainable manner, what the important factors in this respect are and if citizens’ initiatives are the sole preserve of a better educated group of citizens. Through a secondary quantitative analysis of 56 citizens’ initiatives, this article offers an empirical contribution to answering these questions. The authors explore the effects of three possible factors on the sustainability of citizens’ initiatives: the network structure of the citizens’ initiative, the organizational design of the initiative and the revenue model. They show significant relationships between the organizational design of citizens’ initiatives and their sustainability. They also show a relationship between the network structure of these initiatives and their sustainability: initiatives that develop into a fully connected network or a polycentric network are more sustainable than initiatives with a star network. The personal characteristics of the initiators show a dispersal in age, descent, gender and retirement. Relatively speaking, many initiators have a high level of education: 80% has a higher professional or university education. But there are no significant relations between these personal characteristics and the sustainability of citizens’ initiatives.


Malika Igalla BSc
M. Igalla BSc rondde in 2014 cum laude de bacheloropleiding bestuurskunde af aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. Ze is nu bezig aan haar masteropleiding Bestuurskunde: Beleid en Politiek.

Dr. Ingmar van Meerkerk
Dr. I.F. van Meerkerk is postdoctoraal onderzoeker bij het departement Bestuurskunde van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam en doet onderzoek naar institutionele verankering en management van burgerinitiatieven op het terrein van stedelijke gebiedsontwikkeling.

    This article is about one of the experiments in local democratic renewal: MyBorne2030 (in Dutch ‘MijnBorne2030’). The aim of the project was to develop a communal vision for Borne (a relatively small suburban municipality of 20.000 inhabitants in the East of the Netherlands) for the year 2030. A steering committee of 20 local organizations has worked out four scenarios on the basis of three building stones: an identity study, a research of societal trends and the formulation of ambitions. These four scenarios have been submitted to the citizens of Borne in a referendum. The scenario that has received the most votes (‘Dynamic villages’) is further elaborated in a new vison for the future called MyBorne2030. Institutionally the decision-making process in Borne can be described as a mixture of participative (deliberative), associative and direct (plebiscitary) democracy. The authors conclude that it was a successful experiment, that has produced broad support for the vision of Borne for the future and a solid basis for the implementation of this vision. Participants (as well as non-participants) think this approach can be repeated not only in Borne, but also in other municipalities. The authors add that this could also be the case for the level above of cooperating municipalities.


Prof. dr. Bas Denters
Prof. dr. S.A.H. Denters is hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit Twente, wetenschappelijk directeur van de Nederlandse Onderzoeksschool Bestuurskunde (NOB) en hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Dr. Pieter-Jan Klok
Dr. P.J. Klok is universitair docent Beleidsprocessen bij de vakgroep Public Administration van de Universiteit Twente (Faculteit Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences).

    The first contribution to this special issue on local democracy in the Netherlands is the inaugural speech of Job Cohen (the former mayor of Amsterdam) held on January 9th 2015 at the University of Leiden as extraordinary professor at the prestigious Thorbecke-chair. His field is the theory of the municipality as an administrative, political and legal system. The title of his inaugural speech was ‘The fourth D’, in which the first three D’s stand for three different decentralizations of tasks to the Dutch municipalities and the fourth D for democracy. In his speech Cohen advocates a deliberative form of democracy, because it doesn’t emphasize differences and the exaggeration of differences, but emphasizes what the members of a community have in common. Deliberative democracy wants to create space for this common interest through the establishment of an arena for dialogue. Job Cohen is particularly taken by the ideas of the Belgian writer David Van Reybrouck about lottery selection and citizen participation and corresponding initiatives like G1000: a civic-summit, a form of deliberative democracy that generates new ideas, opens new perspectives and increases trust in the democratic process. The element of lottery selection (that was previously put on the agenda by the American professor James Fishkin) is essential for these results, because it creates a maximum of diversity and real involvement of all layers of the population: full citizen participation.


Prof. mr. dr. Job Cohen
Prof. mr. dr. M.J. Cohen is bijzonder hoogleraar decentrale overheden (Thorbecke-leerstoel) aan de Universiteit Leiden en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    Modern government has high expectations of active citizen participation. Sociologists however, expect that this emphasis on citizen participation leads to new inequalities between city neighbourhoods. In ‘better’ neighbourhoods relatively more inhabitants are higher educated and indigenous, categories that are traditionally more active in society. In vulnerable neighbourhoods on the other hand many of the inhabitants are non-indigenous, lower educated and unemployed, who – as is shown in research – participate less. Citizen initiatives therefore would prosper in neighbourhoods with resilient and competent citizens and a powerful social fabric, while inhabitants of the vulnerable neighbourhoods would participate less, although there is more need for active citizen participation, because of their problems. This study analyses active citizen participation in two neighbourhoods in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, ‘Schiemond’ and ‘Lloydkwartier’, a typical backward neighbourhood versus a typical neighbourhood for young urban professionals (‘yuppen’). In contrast with the expectations the inhabitants of Schiemond do not appear to participate less than the inhabitants of Lloydkwartier. Concerning matters of neighbourhood safety even more respondents participate in Schiemond than in Lloydkwartier. Possible reasons are: (a) that lower educated people do participate more often in informal neighbourhood initiatives; (b) that because of the average longer residency in Schiemond there is a greater amount of public familiarity in this neighbourhood; or (c) that because of the bigger problems in Schiemond there is a greater necessity for inhabitants to become active themselves.


Dr. Erik Snel
Dr. E. Snel is universitair docent bij de vakgroep sociologie van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Kim Hoogmoed MSc
K. Hoogmoed MSc is in 2013 afgestudeerd in de sociologie aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. Ze is momenteel medewerker van het examenbureau van de Universiteit Utrecht.

Dr. Arend Odé
Dr. A. Odé is manager onderzoek en advies bij Regioplan Beleidsonderzoek in Amsterdam. Hij is in 1996 gepromoveerd aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam bij het Tinbergen Instituut.
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