Cases and practical experiences

Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative

Since 2013 the Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative has sought to connect the economies, entrepreneurs, producers and workspaces of the Afrikaanderwijk in Rotterdam. The cooperative, initiated in collaboration with Jeanne van Heeswijk, utilises the neighbourhood’s skills, qualities and infrastructure to build products, services and spaces that generate direct benefits for the neighbourhood and create a more localised market. To exemplify, in 2014, the cleaning company SCHOON was established by the Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative. Because of SCHOON, cleaning of neighbourhood facilities that was before outsourced to external cleaning companies is now done by locals from the area, creating job opportunities while keeping the neighbourhood clean. Through many more market interventions like these, de Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative, together with the citizens of the Afrikaanderwijk, works towards a more circular economy within the neighbourhood generating new opportunities and connections within the area.

Bouw Box

When it comes to parental care, studio (Ink.) noticed that the responsibilities often fall back onto conventional gender roles regardless of the parent’s desired role within the caretaking of their newborn. The Bouw Box is designed to be gifted to new parents by their employers once they go on parental leave. The box aims to introduce a ritual to spark the conversation about the work balance between the father and the mother after the child is born. The box contains blocks representing work and home, which help the future parents to build a future plan visually. This toolbox then functions as a conversation probe between future parents and their employers and between each other. The Bouw Box was designed by Studio (ink). during a What If Lab assignment in collaboration with ABN AMRO.

Bron van Doen / MedeWRKN

The design studio Bron van Doen has established MedeWRKN, a physical space within the Bloemfontein neighbourhood in Eindhoven, from here, they explore design that emerges from and benefits the local society. MedeWRKN is also a space for meetings, training and other indoor gatherings. Together with a network of creatives, social organisations and the neighbourhood inhabitants, studio Bron van Doen aims to create a vibrant and connected community. They do this using creativity, sustainability, culture and design. Design studio Bron van Doen was founded by Minsung Wang and Ron Krielen, who developed a design practice in Eindhoven. One of the other initiatives by Bron van Doen is Stichting Uit de Buurtfabriek. This workshop is an opportunity space for people unable to participate in the job market. Together with a team of makers, they create wooden furniture for diverse clients and the local community.

De Voorkamer

With the aim to stimulate the connection between people and cultures, the Voorkamer poses a physical meeting space in Utrecht’s neighbourhood, Lombok. Active in Utrecht since 2016, De Voorkamer offers an inclusive stage within the neighbourhood where people can connect through events such as dinners, language classes, exhibitions, lectures and jam sessions. Storytelling and education become means to trigger cohesion and integration as people around the area contribute to de Voorkamer by sharing their experiences and cultures while learning from others, thus creating an understanding of each other and creating a safe space in the neighbourhood for anyone to share ideas, a coffee or a chat.  De Voorkamer believes that integration cannot be achieved solely by making people follow impersonal procedures and regulations; instead, it is realised in an individual’s sense of belonging.


Drempelloos is a kit for self-inspection and reflection designed by Studio Corvers.

With the diverse Drempelloos modules, shopkeepers and employees can quickly test how accessible the store is. The modules, both separately and in package form, contain various practical aids and measuring instruments. One is vision-limiting glasses, so a store associate can experience what that is like. Can you easily find the entrance, can you find your way around the store? Another module consists of a measuring rod with which the height and slope of the threshold can be measured. There is also a game about manners. Retailers already have to comply with many guidelines, therefore, Drempelloos aims to inform them playfully. Drempelloos gives shop staff tools to deal better with customers who have a disability. For example, how to support someone using a wheelchair with movement in the space? How should one guide someone with visual impairment?

Drempeloos was developed during a What If Lab trajectory in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), HEMA, MKBNL, INretail & Ieder(in).

Extra Teamlid

Extra Teamlid is an interactive board game, assisted by an application, that guides caretakers in evaluating possible trajectories that can be proposed to families to avoid custodial placement. Created by Greenberry and Garage2020, in collaboration with the municipality of Amsterdam, Extra Teamlid was developed through conversations with people working in this youth care system. These conversations highlighted the significant responsibilities caretakers have in deciding over the trajectory of a family, decisions that, however, need a human assessment and can not be left up to data alone. Therefore Extra Teamlid was established as a tool that uses existing data not as an answer but as a tool to inform caretakers on the trajectories that may help the families within the system to offer alternative solutions to the custodial placement and give the caretakers extra ground in making their decision. Extra Teamlid is one of the outcomes of a What If Lab supported by VNG (The Association of Netherlands Municipalities).

Fysiek Fabriek

FysiekFabriek realises tailor-made aids by people with physical disabilities, care providers, local creatives and the manufacturing industry. It is a service that responds to the specific needs of people with a physical disability by establishing a co-creation process in which all parties collaborate to design customised tools. In this way, FysiekFabriek helps to create understanding among the participants of each other’s living situations and obstacles while applying the expertise of people with a disability to their own lifestyle immediately by making tools that would accompany them in living their life more independently. FysiekFabriek was created by designers Aurora Brard and Lotte de Haan in partnership with the healthcare organisation Fokus, in which it is currently being implemented.

Het Bouwdepot

Het Bouwdepot is a yearlong program that offers youngsters a monthly financial contribution to assist them in planning and building their future. Focusing on youngsters from 18 to 21 who cannot live at home for various reasons, Het Bouwdepot aims to offer guidance to a group that fell in between policies caused by loopholes in the system, as a mere budget of 255 a month is allocated for them with the idea that their parents still carry a financial responsibility despite many of this group not receiving a financial contribution from their parents. Through diverse mechanisms, a monthly budget of 1050 and assistance in creating a future plan, helping the youngsters understand their talents and finding them suitable living space, Het Bouwdepot helps to redirect the youngsters to a path where they can dream about their future instead of worry about the debt they are in due to their situation. Additionally, the experience of the youngsters is translated into a toolkit that becomes a means to start a conversation with the municipalities about their debt as well as feedback for the municipalities to help adapt their policy and offer suitable help to this group of youngsters.

Mensenkenner / Ink.

While often below the radar for a shopkeeper or employee, within a simple visit to the store, people with a disability face many hidden obstacles that complicate the daily act of getting groceries. Developed in collaboration with and inspired by the experience of people living with a disability, Mensenkenner is a platform that trains the inclusivity of retail personnel. Through diverse challenges, the retail employee experiences what a shop visit looks like for a person with disabilities, this makes retail personnel more mindful of the obstacles present within the shopping experience of people with a disability while training them how to tackle these obstacles correctly, making the shopping experience more inclusive for all. Mensenkenner was developed within a What If Lab trajectory in partnership with HEMA, the Ministery of Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, INretail and MKB Nederland.

Project WAVE

The University of Humanistic Studies (UvH) and the Centre for Consultation and Expertise (CCE) set up an academic-creative research trajectory. Over the course of two years, Studio Anne Ligtenberg worked with two cases in healthcare for people with intellectual disabilities. The question was how could a fresh perspective from outsiders initiate a new movement in care issues which are stuck. With the observations of Studio Anne Ligtenberg and interventions, they worked towards a more humane living environment for the two cases and an attitude of the caregivers based on trust instead of fear and risk aversion. Their findings (combined with the other researchers) have contributed to developing a learning module that the UvH now offers.

Seev / Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken, Garage 2020

You learn by making mistakes, but when it comes to understanding their finances, youngsters often do not have the space to make mistakes without ending up in the smothering situation of increasing bills and threatening emails. The Seev application was created by Garage 2020 and Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken with the belief that familiarising youngsters with their finances requires a milder approach to the mistakes they make along the way. While the current penalty-driven billing system causes bills to pile up, creating a situation harder for youngsters to find their way out of, Seev is a deliberative tool as youngsters can indicate to the creditors how much they can pay off monthly and when they will pay off their bills in the long term. Designed to fit the language and lifestyle of youngsters, Seev starts the conversation about debt and lets youngsters get familiar with their finances while offering a safety net for their mistakes in doing so.

The Niteshop

The Niteshop, located in Rotterdam-Delfshaven, is a physical space that celebrates the cultural capital present within the neighbourhood. Concrete Blossom initiates it, a design and media collective consisting of a group of Rotterdam makers, thinkers and organisers. 

This collective works with organisations and grassroots collectives that shape the Netherlands of tomorrow beyond mainstream ideas about diversity. In addition to helping established institutions integrate into the new urban reality, Concrete Blossom designs new structures and reflects on the importance of futuristic institutions. The wealth that you find in super-diverse cities is always central to this. One such futuristic institution is The Niteshop, an embassy of the super diverse City.

Last edited: 07/03/2023