Centre of Expertise Global Governance

Understanding the effects of heatwaves on vulnerable population groups in the municipality of The Hague.

The applied research project entitled ‘The Effect of heatwaves on vulnerable population groups in The Hague’ mapped the needs of independently living seniors in order to adapt to heatwaves, the sustainable (frugal) solutions that exist, and the actions that the municipality could take to address these needs and thereby contribute to urban resilience. To do so, the project team conducted surveys and Focus Group Discussions with senior citizens, and interviews with representatives of the private sector, care organisations, housing corporations and policy makers.

Final report on the heatwaves research project available now!

The findings showed that senior citizens do not use relatively simple solutions to keep themselves cool (e.g., wet towel) as frequently as expected. However, over 80% of respondents were concerned about the cost of cooling and how they can cool themselves. Three solutions –sunscreens, air conditioning, and green roofs - are highly ranked as options that the respondents would like to implement in their (communal) living space, but they face high costs and institutional barriers. The study also highlighted the role of (in)formal networks and housing corporations in reducing the vulnerability of senior citizens and increasing access to and knowledge of effective cooling solutions.

The main policy recommendations directed at the municipality of The Hague centre around how to increase ownership of heat as an urban resilience problem that cuts across several policy domains, and how to further develop its Local Heat Plan.

The detailed findings and policy recommendations can be found in the final report.

The research was funded by the municipality of The Hague and implemented as a cooperation between (and with co-funding from) the Centre of Expertise Global Governance, the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam) and the International Centre for Frugal Innovation (ICFI, Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities). It was implemented between March 1st  and December 31st , 2021.

The project generated several outputs besides the main report, including an NRC op-ed article, a blog post, and a conference paper, and more are in the pipeline. They will be posted on this website as soon as they are available

Based on this promising experience and the network with a variety of relevant stakeholders that was developed as part of this project, the Centre of Expertise on Global Governance is currently working on further grant applications for practice-oriented research projects in order to tackle the issue of heatwaves in other cities, and at the national, European, and global levels.

If you are interested to join us to develop project ideas and grant proposals, please contact the project leader and senior researcher, Dr. Sylvia I. Bergh at s.i.bergh@hhs.nl.

Research Team

Main researchers
Dr. Sylvia Bergh: Principal Investigator. Senior Researcher (The Hague University of Applied Sciences) and Associate Professor in Development Management and Governance (International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam).
Ashley Richard Longman, MSc: Researcher and Project Coordinator (The Hague University of Applied Sciences)
Dr. Erwin van Tuijl: Postdoctoral Researcher (The International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam and The International Centre for Frugal Innovation, Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities)

Student Assistants
Frédérique Kwantes: International and European Law (LLB), The Hague University of Applied Sciences
Mark Prins: Ruimtelijke Ontwikkeling - Climate & Management (BASc), The Hague University of Applied Sciences
Phillipa Purrio: Safety and Security Management Studies (BA), The Hague University of Applied Sciences
Delilah van Tol: International Law (LLB), The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Advisory Board
Prof. Thea Hilhorst: Professor of Humanitarian Studies, The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam
Prof. Peter Knorringa: Director of the International Centre for Frugal Innovation (ICFI) and Professor of Private Sector & Development, The International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Dr. Jan Fransen: Researcher at the International Centre for Frugal Innovation (ICFI) and Deputy Director, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), Erasmus University Rotterdam