“Making an impact in the neighbourhood depends entirely on the students themselves”

Words by Marnix Schalk (Leiden University). Images by Nesie Wang.

During the kick-off meeting on Wednesday 29 March, master students affiliated with the Thesis Workshop The Hague Southwest presented their thesis ideas to stakeholders from the neighbourhood. 

Students were challenged to make their research understandable to a wider audience and encouraged to think critically about their thesis design from a practical point of view. At the same time, stakeholders were informed about ongoing research and allowed to provide feedback. A wide variety of stakeholders attended the presentations: from residents from The Hague Southwest to clients of housing associations. When all students had presented their thesis ideas, there was room to talk to each other. This took place at SAMS Xaraga, the venue of local entrepreneur and former LDE GMD student, Ruşen Koç.   

Contributing to the neighbourhood in an innovative way 

Various students from different courses join the Thesis Workshop. This ensures that all kinds of issues from The Hague Southwest neighbourhoods are addressed. From 'densification and participation' to 'municipal poverty policy'. Students from TU Delft, Erasmus University and Leiden University all deal with their questions from their own discipline. During their thesis process, students must practically translate their questions to residents and neighbourhood professionals. This ensures that students are encouraged to stay connected to society: before, during and after their thesis period. During the kick-off meeting, it again became clear that an exchange of knowledge and expertise between students, stakeholders and residents in The Hague Southwest offers opportunities. It gives students the chance to make an innovative contribution to the issues at play in the neighbourhood. Ruşen Koç, the host of the kick-off meeting, knows from his own experience as a student that 'making an impact in the neighbourhood depends entirely on the students themselves'.   

Words from the students 
Joost van Driesum, TU Delft student Urbanisation,
Thesis topic: Densification and participation  

The kick-off meeting helps him make relevant contacts with people from the field. It also motivates him to produce a nice and good study: 'I get the feeling that something is being done with it'.  

David Tiemstra, TU Delft Industrial Design student,
Thesis subject: Digital Twins  

For David, the kick-off meeting is a useful opportunity to talk to policymakers and hear what their intentions are for The Hague Southwest. In addition, the practical feedback adds value to the description of his research design.  

An insightful experience 

For the students, the kick-off meeting is a learning experience to help them move forward with their theses. By talking to residents, policy staff or neighbourhood professionals, they gain more clarity on the context and topic they are working on. In this way, the Thesis Workshop ensures the relevant connection between students' research and the needs in The Hague Southwest. In the coming time, the students will collect all the information to communicate the results from their thesis back to the stakeholders after the summer, during the final meeting.

Interested in attending the final meeting after the summer?
Send an email to m.schalk@fgga.leidenuniv.nl and we will put you on the invitation list

More information
Leiden University Article