Onderwerp scriptie

Developing and improving the social and physical environment of Dutch railway stations through community participation

Community initiative ‘Cooperation Station Park Deurne’ wants to make the Deurne railway station more attractive for inhabitants and commuters. The cooperative has developed numerous activities to improve the surroundings of the railway station, in order to make the railway an integral part of the community.

For example, the cooperation organized a public water tap for drinking water, developed a butterfly garden alongside the railway and set up a book swap in the station lounge. By placing photographs on transistor houses, they improved the looks of the area.

The cooperation has asked the Science Shop of Wageningen University and Research to help them improve the social and physical environment of railway station Deurne. Furthermore, the research by the Science Shop aims to develop and implement similar strategies for other railway stations throughout the Netherlands. The research focuses around two interrelated aspects.
First, the cooperation aims to increase the involvement of citizens in the organisation of social activities and in the development of the railway station. The importance of community based organisations in the development of railway station Deurne is acknowledged by all stakeholders. However, involvement of citizens in the development of activities is still limited to a small group of initiators.

Second, the railway station is a relatively small station on the trajectory Venlo - Eindhoven. Like many small stations in the Netherlands the service level is quite basic and the layout is very much based on functionality. The national railway companies NS and Pro-rail are responsible for the maintenance of the stations and the municipality for the surroundings. The cooperative believes there are lots of opportunities. However, coordination of existing initiatives and negotiation with the municipality, property developers, NS and Prorail remains a challenge.

We are looking for MSc-students who are interested in multi-stakeholder processes and citizen participation in the planning, development and maintenance of public space. Possible topics for an MSc-thesis could be:

  • the opportunities for the development of the Deurne railway station or similar railway stations (local and regional, and from ecological, environmental, social and economic perspective)
  • the involvement of inhabitants and commuters in the development of railway stations and its surroundings
  • the  interaction between different stakeholders involved in the planning and maintenance or railways stations and their surroundings (entrepreneurs, the municipality, NS (Dutch railways) and Pro-Rail and property developers, etc.)
  • the social cohesion between inhabitants living on the north and south side of the railway station in Deurne (or similar cases)
  • the function of the railway station in Deurne as portal to the region (National Park De Groote Peel)