Arnhem Community Innovation Lab

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About the Arnhem Community Innovation Lab

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In Arnhem, students participated in three community projects, each with its own objectives and outcomes. On July 14, 2019 the students presented their ideas from the projects at the business fair at VHL together with students from other studies such as Food Technology, International Development Management and Agribusiness. All the students worked on business plans Sustainable Entrepreneurship. The students' ideas were judged by a professional jury, who decided which students had the most sustainable business idea, and a group won the prize of €250 for the best market opportunities (powered by the Rabobank).



Community 1: Circularity in the Van Hall Larenstein Community in Velp

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Objective: To lower the resource footprint of the HVHL community on the Larenstein Estate and its immediate surroundings and save money

Partners: HVHL services, HVHL students and staff as users, Peeze coffee burners, neighbourhood members, Renuwi-waste services, Student Green Office, entrepreneurs, 2nd year students Management of the Environment

Activities: Waste-Audit, co-creation sessions with stakeholders, student and associate professorship projects on Vermiculture, water, agriculture

Chances and challenges of the university-community collaboration: Well-established groups, some empowerment from the top-down levels is required

Potentials of the university-community collaboration: Seems feasible, economic perspective, provides social learning

Outcomes of Community 1

  • Waste reduction was achieved to the desired goal
  • Waste reduction awareness was raised in the Larenstein community
  • The student group developed a business plan for a social enterprise around a 1 hectare FoodForest on the Larenstein estate
  • The aim of the social enterprise is education, plus FoodForest operation and awareness
  • The business plan has not resulted in a company, but there will be a FoodForest starting 10th of October 2019
  • FoodForest is an educational and research project for all the departments of VHL, plus for citizens and businesses around the community: The food forest will be opened 10 October 2019 (see picture)

In 2019, the students will go further, exploring all the opportunities of the Larenstein Estate. One of the goals is to open the FoodForest and do research.

Contact: Daan van der Linde or Freddy van Dijken


Community 2: BlueNeighbourhoodEconomy Project Spijkerkwartier

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BlueNeighbourhoodEconomy (DeBlauweWijkEconomie)

Objective: To establish a cost-efficient Green Landscaping Workforce in the Spijkerkwartier neighbourhood in Arnhem based on the local community

Partners: BlueNeighbourhoodEconomy organisation, Patrick Hoogenbosch, Municipality of Arnhem, GreenArnhem Network, neighbourhood members, entrepreneurs, 2nd year students in the Management of the Environment program

Activities: Entrepreneurship analysis for the NeighborhoodGreenCompany (BuurtGroenBedrijf) run by community members, WormHotel development (including realisation)

Chances and challenges of the university-community collaboration: Well-established group, there is a collaboration agreement

Potentials of the university-community collaboration: Seems feasible, economic perspective, provides social learning

More about Community 2

  • DeBlauweWijkEconomie is an initiative for and by residents in the Spijkerkwartier area in Arnhem. From our passion for sustainable and living through sustainability, we created an environment with a greater sense of well-being, solidarity and an eye for nature. DeBlauweWijkEconomie achieves this by training and coaching residents to discover and follow their dreams using social entrepreneurship. In the Spijkerkwartier, you live your passion.
  • DeBlauweWijkEconomie aims to develop collaborative ideas in our neighbourhood, turning these ideas into opportunities for our community by using existing resources, government entities, institutions of learning and companies. Together we can work towards our goal of establishing social entrepreneurships. Small is the new big. It is surprising how much already exists in the neighbourhood which can be used towards creating new opportunities. Forming connections, creating added value and getting action-oriented – together!
  • Perhaps you have an idea for a project in our neighbourhood, your own company or a dream to make the world a bit more beautiful. How do you start? Imagine working out these ideas with other individuals. This is an opportunity to get inspired by the passion of others, use everyone's talents and learn from one another. Companies in and around Arnhem, educational institutions and the municipality of Arnhem would like to be a part of making these ideas a success. Synergy optima forma! Dream jobs are created more often than found.
  • NeighbourhoodGreenCompany For four years, the green maintenance company, Spijkergroen, has been operating in the Spijkerkwartier from the DeBlauweWijkEconomie project. A number of previously unemployed local residents with a passion for green and community well-being started this company in 2015. Since the BuurtGroenBedrijf has been managing the green areas and keeping the district clean, the district has undergone an incredible change in appearance. In addition to cleaner streets, better maintained trees, and shrubs and grass in the public areas, new green areas have also been planted in several places. For example, vertical gardens, fruit trees and smaller city gardens where herbs and vegetables are grown are now placed in several places through working with members of the neighbourhood. This was all part of the dream that a man named Marco wrote about in 2015. Wouldn’t it be great if this were to happen? A greener and cleaner neighbourhood, maintained by the local residents themselves is a great example of the possibilities that can grow out of the DeBlauweWijkEconomie. The plan is to set up the BuurtGroenBedrijf as a social enterprise where ecological and social values are the highest priorities.

Outcomes of Community 2

  • Worm-bins promotion in the neighbourhoud was researched and initiated: production of worm-tea for use in private and community gardens
  • A social enterprise as part of the existing Buurtgroenbedrijf was not succesfully established
  • This fall a new group is studying the Energy Transition in Spijkerbuurt by means of a narrative analysis method. They will do research on the willingness to change energy sources like solar power instead of gas. The VHL UAS group will cooperate with HAN UAS Social Work students. They are working in a living lab DAZO in the neighbourhood.

In 2019 we will go further with students in their third year in Spijkerkwartier. We will assist the community with the energy transition working with students and teachers from the University of Applied Sciences Arnhem en Nijmegen and the University of Arts Artez in a learning community together with the Gemeente Arnhem (municipality).

Contact: Freddy van Dijken

Community 3: Sonsbeek-Park Community Project

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Objective: to enhance entrepreneurial thinking within the Friends of Sonsbeek-park community with regard to event organisation and environmental issues

Partners: Friends of Sonsbeek-park organisation , Municipality of Arnhem, GreenArnhem Network , neighbourhood members, entrepreneurs, 2nd year students in the Management of the Environment program

Activities: Entrepreneurship analysis for the event portfolio in the park, advice on what should and should not be done concerning events in the park and environmental projects on water retention and climate change

Chances and challenges of the university-community collaboration: Well-established group, needs some empowerment from the municipality

Potentials of the university-community collaboration: Seems feasible, economic perspective, social learning

Outcomes of Community 3

  • A social enterprise for maintenance, surveillance and work-placement for jobless people was described, but not established.
  • The proposed ideas were welcomed in the Friends of SonsbeekPark Community, but they need further elaboration next year.
  • The social enterprise was located in and around Molenplaats visitor centre, but the economic basis was not sound enough to sustain the proposed activities.

Contact: Daan van der Linde