The green connection: Design as a strategy towards a healthier city

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


This change has spurred demand for new forms of self-organising governance. As part of its transformed governance structure aiming to enhance active participation, the Municipality of Rotterdam has embraced the “Right to Challenge”. Initially, this has focused on topics related to citizen health and wellbeing, but it’s being extended to a multitude of domains where citizen activism takes place.

The proposed contribution elaborates on the self-management of public parks. In this context, various green initiatives have joined forces in a new initiative called ‘the green connection’, which aims to strengthen existing initiatives and demonstrate their societal impact. Interestingly, when mapping the various initiatives in the city, it shows a green ribbon around Delfshaven, a former local municipality in the city of Rotterdam, which is known for their active citizens and experimentation with democratic innovation.

Clearly, one of the first design goals is to turn the conceptual green connection into a beautiful 8km-long hiking trail in Rotterdam West, through connecting the parks and removing physical barriers. The overall ambition is somewhat bigger: healthy city design. The more people can participate in green initiatives, the healthier the neighbourhood becomes. Elaborating on the findings of the public health service in the greater Rotterdam-Rijnmond area – which state that green initiatives are of great significance for health and welfare institutions – collaboration is extended with institutions dealing with care and wellbeing.

The collaborative attitude, and a proper infrastructure that supports this social fabric, seem to be key for designing for social transformations. Main findings and lessons about the comprehensive participatory approach are reported. The role of design is also reflected on.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventHealthy City Design 2017 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Oct 201717 Oct 2017


ConferenceHealthy City Design 2017
CountryUnited Kingdom


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