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Housing shortage in the Netherlands

By Joana Shtereva, Job Moolenaars & Stefanija Duntava.

Background information

For our Value Creators we wanted to tackle an issue that is complex, and we wanted to create a product that would make a change. The project we worked on in the autumn semester of 2020/2021 focuses on the housing issue in the Netherlands, that is a result of past policies, politics, economic recessions, and societal influences, and there is not “one straightforward and clear” way to solve the problem. Which is why we were so passionate to dig into it and see what value we would create in the end. The problem is directly linked with the Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. We drew a lot of inspiration from the 4E-Model, that was created with the purpose of addressing wicked challenges and creating societal value.


Explore

The first phase of the 4E-Model is the exploring phase. The team met up and used the physical board game version of the model to “dive” into the issue. At the beginning we did not know where to begin with, so we had to do a lot of research on the background of the problem and to identify all the main key actors that are involved in it. We mapped out the different possible stakeholders and tried to figure out which are the groups that suffer from the housing issue the most. We concluded that these are young starters, students, and elderly.


Engage

Then came the engaging phase, the purpose of which is to expand our perspective of the problem and its stakeholders and be able to create a descriptive analysis of the information learned. We were able to look further into the issue and its participants, and thus we managed to put different stakeholders into clusters that would later form networks. We wrote a descriptive report on the various perspectives on the problem – the Dutch government, the inhabitants of the Netherlands, and commercial and non-commercial groups. All of these had even more subgroups that we examined. And we also created a list of stakeholders that we wanted to approach.


Elaborate

In the third phase – elaborating, we got closer to figuring out what our final product was going to be. After a lot of ideas, we settled on the creation of a handbook and a pilot organization, supported by social media accounts, called Het Huisboek. We were passionate about creating value through a handbook, since we noticed that there is no “one” centralized point that people can find information about their different struggles with finding appropriate and affordable housing in the Netherlands. Furthermore, we decided to make the product applicable for different “target groups”, so we included expats and established family to the list of the main groups we already mentioned in the “Explore phase”. We scheduled interviews with our key stakeholders and were met with immense support and desire for action and promotion of our handbook (that will be available online very soon).


Evaluate

In the final phase of the 4E-Model – the evaluation phase, we sat down and looked back at our journey, while also thinking about how we could pass on our ideas and deliverables to people, that would be just as passionate and as dedicated to them as we were. We were quite happy that there is an organization that is willing to take over our project and further develop and promote it, even after our Value Creators semester has ended. We established that there are multiple ways in which we could measure the value that we have created in the end: by the number of followers that we have gained on our social media accounts, the visits to the link of our handbook, and the “success stories” of our readers. The last being the best indicator about whether or not our handbook made a change in their personal experience.

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