New PhD Student pioneers in management public space

Published on
October 14, 2020

The programme Managing Public Space within Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is gathering speed. It aims to connect the academic field with the professional world of managing public space. Public space as such is of great social and economic value to society. Climate questions, needs for relaxation, corona measures and many other activities mix on a daily basis. The Foundation Managing Public Space wants to support and finance academic research and at the same time to make a connection with the elaborate practical knowledge that exists in this area. An important step made towards this is: the appointment of a PhD Student.

The University received many good and enthusiastic applications for this research position. Eva Duivenvoorden MSc (1995) has been picked above all other candidates. She may start pioneering in academic research on the management of public spaces for the next four years. Eva will for example do research like in a ‘living lab’ on neighbourhoods, cities and regions and she will publish her findings.

About Eva Duivenvoorden

Eva studied for her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning at Wageningen University. Important themes that she specifically studied, were uncertainties within spatial planning, planning and governance, mobility, urban agriculture and climate adaptation. During her Master studies, she fulfilled an internship at the Foundation Managing Public Space. Her thesis centered around the management of public space.

“I am very keen on improving the quality of life. Myself, I grew up in a nice village with a radiance of beauty about it and with lots of facilities. This has certainly influenced my life. How to improve the quality of life in more places? Within ‘planning’ I lacked the sense of a continuous involvement: projects end strictly at a certain completion date and then it is all handed over to management. Exactly about that I wanted to do in-depth studies, so my thesis is for the better part about management. My appointment at the WUR means a grandiose challenge to me and one that gives me a lot of energy.”

Fresh knowledge

And a challenge it will definitely be: hardly any academic research has taken place until now, on the topic of managing public space. The Netherlands have a good reputation in the field of management, but public spaces are coming increasingly under pressure, because of large transitions in mobility, energy, circularity and also because of social changes. And that is why fresh and additional knowledge is welcome.

“Because management is assigned to several different layers of government – municipalities, provinces, water boards, ministries – an integrated approach is lacking, while our changing world really needs this. We should really try and formulate a completely new policy, taking upholding achieved successes along. Of course, that won't happen overnight.”

“The aim is to make a map of the ins and outs of current management. For example the effects of law and regulations, the resources used and what the prevailing thoughts and habits are. This will shed light on possible obstacles, while we carry out research for a more integral policy. In this respect I am looking for examples of both classical, or precisely very innovative styles of management. Eventually actors from the professional field will be able to facilitate integral approaches on the basis of our findings. That is the big thing of this PhD study: it is absolutely an academic endeavour, but in the end it means an extended contribution to society.”

Follow for the latest developments Foundation Managing Public Space is open for collaboration. Via the website you can read more and find contact details.