Social Spaces and Collaborative Communities: connecting the past, present, and future of the Dutch Colonies of Benevolence

Project: PhD

Project Details


The Dutch Colonies of Benevolence were established in 1818 to reduce poverty and social inequality by building self-sufficient farming villages. In spite of their social ideals, the spatial designs reflected social control with the absence of central village squares or other social spaces. However, the colonies evolved over time to meet new insights in social welfare and horticulture which led to social encounters and community activities in emerging social spaces, the latter often related to food production. Therefore, this research aims to learn from these social spaces and their communities to address present-day social challenges and promote community building. The main research question is: Which aspects from past to present social spaces (1818-present) contribute to design recommendations for the Dutch free Colonies of Benevolence to promote community building? The research will consist of two parts to connect and analyse the past, present, and future of social spaces in the living cultural landscapes. Firstly, research for design (RFD) will be conducted to establish design criteria with a combination of a literature review, archival research, and oral histories. Secondly, participatory Research Through Design (RTD) will be conducted to test, analyse, and refine future designs with local stakeholders and experts, leading to design recommendations.
Effective start/end date1/12/21 → …


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