Rebellion in senior participation

On 21 April 2022, Leonard Geluk, director of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), received the pamphlet 'Rebellion in participation: being open to each other's dreams in senior housing'. The pamphlet offers practical tools for directors of housing corporations, social entrepreneurs and policy makers who want to create new housing initiatives together with seniors. The pamphlet was presented by Marianne van Bochove (researcher), Zsuzsu Tavy (researcher), Joost van Hoof (professor Urban Ageing) and Katja Rusinovic (professor Metropolitan Developments) of The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

Many seniors prefer to continue living independently. Preferably near like-minded people and in a home and environment that suits their stage of life and needs. Developing new forms of housing that meet these needs is easier said than done. Because how do you organise the participation of seniors? How do you give them a real voice in the design, construction and commissioning of new housing forms?  

Participation of seniors 

Many initiators are still looking for ways to encompass public participation. But there are also success stories: rebellious housing initiatives where future residents and initiators developed a new form of housing together. These include a complex where seniors and students live together, a residential community for seniors with a Moroccan background, an old nursing home that has been completely transformed into a residential community, and a residential group initiated by residents in cooperation with a housing corporation.   

Practical tips 

The THUAS research team spoke to 34 residents and initiators about participation. They asked them about their experiences and lessons learnt. These discussions resulted in a pamphlet that offers inspiration and guidance based on the experiences of these stakeholders. The pamphlet with 22 practical tips is intended for (social) entrepreneurs, administrators, policymakers and others who want to develop new residential initiatives together with seniors, and wish to engage the seniors in their choices. 

Rebellious initiatives in housing for seniors 

The pamphlet is a follow-up to 'Rebelse initiatieven in ouderenhuisvesting' (Rebellious initiatives in housing for seniors), which was presented in July 2021 to Martin van Rijn, chair of the Aedes Association of Housing Corporations. In this earlier pamphlet, we share examples and tips from initiators who approach new housing in a slightly different way. How do you market a rebellious initiative? How do you deal with rules and how do you justify choices when you deliberately do things differently? The first pamphlet strongly emphasised the message of the initiators: not to rebel for the sake of rebellion, but to achieve the shared ideal of better and more appropriate housing for seniors. To achieve that goal, you have to work together with the seniors. The second pamphlet builds on this with tips and tricks for shaping the participation of seniors. 

More information 

Download ‘Rebellie in ouderenparticipatie’ (pdf in Dutch) 
Download ‘Rebelse initiatieven in ouderenhuisvesting' (pdf in Dutch)