Blik op Eindhoven

What is it like living in Eindhoven today?

Blik op Eindhovengesprekken Woensdag 3

How do you discover how residents of a city are really doing?

Four alliances comprised of Eindhoven residents, knowledge institutions, the municipality, and civil society organizations are currently working on concrete plans to improve the quality of life in the city. These plans are based on the suggestions of a broad cross-section of the population of Eindhoven. The basis for this is the Blik op Eindhoven (View on Eindhoven) project, for which the municipality commissioned the social designers of Kade Clubhuis to collect as many different views from Eindhoven's residents as possible.

With playful, humorous installations, Kade Clubhuis created accessible stages for everyone. The installations sparked conversations about green spaces, belonging, culture, and identity, among other things, and the designers compiled the results. Groups of engaged residents then explored the four themes that occurred most frequently in greater depth. The closing highlights of the project were speed dates between citizens and other parties and a brainstorming wall of ideas on how to begin working on the specified topics in more concrete terms. Towards a higher quality of life for every resident of Eindhoven!

About Kade Clubhuis

Kade Clubhuis is a creative hotbed on Kanaaldijk in Eindhoven, where social designers work: eight studios in total. In principle, they each run their own studio but also work together whenever possible. This was the case for the Blik op Eindhoven project. Studio Sociaal Centraal, Studio Marleen van Bergeijk, and De Reuringdienst, among others, joined forces for this project. Each was able to put their expertise and skills to good use during the project. For example, one agency might excel in research while another is good at activating people. A perfect combination for this project! The ability to scale up quickly was also beneficial, given the short lead time.

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About the project

The city of Eindhoven is growing. But not everyone is profiting equally from this growth. A crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic can also magnify existing disparities among residents. Eindhoven Municipality seeks to do something about this by initiating a movement centered around broad prosperity. In the process, the municipality hopes that more people and organizations will feel called to work on this subject. Improving the quality of life of the city's residents can only be achieved by having citizens, civil society organizations, knowledge institutions, and the municipality work together.

Blik op Eindhoven's primary objectives were formulated by the Municipality of Eindhoven itself: First, collect information regarding the "what, why, and how" of quality of life in their city from as wide a group of Eindhoven residents as possible. In other words: host a citizens' summit. The municipality then wanted to explore the most common themes in greater depth with smaller groups of residents. Finally, form a citizens' council where residents, civil society organizations, knowledge institutions, and the municipality worked together to formulate concrete action points and plans.

How exactly do you go about putting such an ambitious plan into practice? The Municipality of Eindhoven hired consulting firm E:M+MA as project leader and sparring partner. To develop a sound approach aimed at activating and starting a conversation among residents, it hired What if Lab. This program of the Dutch Design Foundation links clients and designers. They work together in a supervised fashion to develop innovative concepts for challenging design issues. Kade Clubhuis came up with a proposal during the What if Lab. Their skills in activating people and their knowledge of the social fabric in Eindhoven were particularly useful for this project. Kade Clubhuis was therefore asked to take on the development and implementation.


About the process

The idea

You must talk to people in multiple locations to engage with a good cross-section of Eindhoven's residents. Based on maps and data regarding the composition of Eindhoven's various neighborhoods, the Blik op Eindhoven project group, consisting of a delegation of the Municipality of Eindhoven and consultancy firm E:M+MA, selected places and times when the designers could best talk to Eindhoven residents. The range was broad: from hardware store Praxis to the recycling center, and from the Woenselse Markt to Toeloop Tongelre. Mornings, afternoons, and evenings. Furthermore, the designers designed the installations in such a way that they appealed to different target groups. What is attractive to one resident may not be appealing to another. The designers were also given a list of themes and topics for discussion based on Statistics Netherlands' (CBS) Monitor of Well-Being. These included: immediate living environment, sustainability, culture and sports, safety, poverty, mobility/traffic, and belonging.

Based on a sample from the municipal population register, ten thousand Eindhoven residents were invited to have their voices heard at one of the chosen locations on April 28, 29 or 30, 2021. The letter contributed to the excitement surrounding the project. People walking past the installations were also invited to voice their opinions.

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The plan

This was the first project on which Kade Clubhuis worked as a collective. A total of eleven designers participated in Blik op Eindhoven. According to the collective, this worked amazingly well: they quickly came up with creative ideas for the five installations, which they soon renamed Blikopeners. A playful name that immediately clarifies what each installation is about: enter into a conversation and broaden each other's horizons. The installations were given light-hearted names, all around the theme of "view/perspective." For example, Inblikken, or "Canning" ("We are canning perspectives on Eindhoven. Which can we preserve for you?"); Blikken zonder blozen, or "Looking without blushing" ("Your perspective on Eindhoven is important. Which of your views on Eindhoven can be expressed without shame or embrarrasment?"); and, Blikwerpen, or "Taking a peek" ("We are taking a peek at Eindhoven and are curious about your perspective"). To reach everyone, there was both a Dutch and an English version. Designers designed the installations so that people could understand their purpose without reading anything. This was important because non-Dutch speakers and other minority language speakers were among the target groups.

‘‘We encourage people to share their perspective on the city. The answers are sincere and show how Eindhoven residents feel.’’
Joes Janmaat | Studio Sociaal Centraal


Participants filled out a form at the Blikopeners or offered their views and perspectives to the designers on site. They put their views into a can. All the cans combined formed the Blik op Eindhoven (another playful name reflecting the dual meaning of the word "blik" - i.e. "can" or "view/perspective" - in Dutch).

The collection of different views and perspectives on Eindhoven was a success. For three days, the designers manned installations at various locations and times in the city. They actively invited passers-by to share their perspectives on Eindhoven. The installations served as a "conversation starter." Humor and accessibility were central. By asking specific questions, the designers opened the dialogue: How do you see the future of Eindhoven? What is it like to live or work in Eindhoven? What are you satisfied with? And what do you still find lacking? A total of 431 Eindhoven residents offered their perspectives of Eindhoven.

The designers of Kade Clubhuis compiled all the responses based on the themes from Statistics Netherlands' (CBS) Monitor of Well-Being. Based on these results, they and the project group formulated four overarching themes: "The 'At home in your own neighborhood' city," "The city of togetherness," "The city of opportunity," and "The green and healthy city." Groups of engaged citizens explored these themes in greater depth during six meetings. What do the results of the research mean? Do they recognize themselves in it? And what changes are possible within this theme? Kade Clubhuis also played a role here. Among other things, the designers developed a "Broad View Bingo" game, with a bingo card showing different perspectives. Again, this was meant to get the conversation going.

The Blik op Eindhoven project ended with a wall of ideas and a series of speed dates during Dutch Design Week 2021. Here the focus was on the more concrete ideas that came out of the discussion with engaged citizens. Eindhoven residents, civil society organizations, knowledge institutions, and the municipality thought collectively about the sorts of actions they considered most promising. And where they each saw themselves playing a role. Think, for example, of social cohesion in one's district or neighborhood and mentors to help underprivileged Eindhoven residents with their studies, job, or other questions. Four alliances have been formed on this basis. These alliances will be working on these plans over the coming years.

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