When you live in an area where there is facility decline you will probably recognise this. Due to an aging population and low population growth there’s no longer room for two soccer clubs or for an elementary school. Closing these facilities is always emotional for the people involved. Especially when residents feel they have not been involved in the decision-making process. Through the serious game Voorzieningen-Wijs (Facility-Smart), developed by the RUG and Partoer, residents are actively involved, and they are invited to think about different future scenarios to help them make sustainable choices.
In 2019 Suzanne Christiaanse, PhD student at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences, was offered a supplementary grant to detect the demographic developments and facilities of a Frisian town called Waadhoeke. Her research painfully exposed what the counsel already knew: in the next coming years several facilities would disappear because they were no longer economically viable. The counsel realised that this would conjure up a lot of emotions with the residents and they were determined to support this project as well as they could.
This is where Partoer (a research and consultancy firm giving advice on quality-of-life issues, social domain issues and demographic development issues) came in. Together with Suzan Christiaanse, they took up this research and they were commissioned by Harlingen, Waadhoeke and Leeuwarden to develop a tool that would help to start the conversation with the residents. Sjoerd IJdema, consultant at Partoer and involved with Voorzieningen-Wijs: “Suzan’s research exposed what we see more often. Due to an aging population and the fact that young families no longer choose to live in small villages, the need for certain facilities changes and they are no longer economically viable. Understandably, this is extremely emotional for some residents, particularly when they grew up in this village and when they are not aware of the motivations for closing these facilities, therefore making it hard for them to understand why this is happening.
This is why we created Voorzieningen-Wijs. A serious game in which we present the residents with several future scenario’s regarding a particular facility. Based on facts like demographic developments and operational costs etc. the residents can come to a sustainable choice for the future in a fun way.
Sjoerd IJdema: “In this case, this really was the best solution for this village and its residents. The good thing about it is that residents have come to realise that closing the sports centre was necessary because they can now see for themselves that it is no longer profitable to keep it open. Once you have come to this conclusion, there is room to look at the options that are available.” For Tzummarum this mean that the sports centre had to be taken down indeed and that they are now looking at other options for villagers to meet one another.
Business Generator Groningen has supported the RUG and Partoer in acquiring the intellectual property of the serious game. Several villages in Friesland are now licensed to use the game and this is a wonderful example of the kind of impact scientific research can have on society.
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Please contact Anne Been, Business Developer Digital Innovation at Business Generator Groningen. email@example.com
Voorzieningen-Wijs is a serious game in which we present the residents with several future scenario’s regarding a particular facility. Based on facts like demographic developments and operational costs etc. the residents can come to a sustainable choice for the future in a fun way.
Doe de quickscan door je gegevens hieronder in te vullen.