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Self-organization is about shared ownership as an alternative to individual use. It is about joint initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life together. Within the theme of self-organization, the local context of, for example, a neighborhood is leading for the development of innovations. In addition to the usual cooperation between market and government, there are increasingly other forms of cooperation in which all interests of society and citizens themselves are represented. Social value is central. Direct involvement of the people it concerns, in other words. We help citizens organize themselves for this.
Photo of four schoolchildren on a park bench in nice weather during national outdoor learning day
Photo of man (on mobility scooter) and woman on a city park bench

We want to achieve the following

We strive for decentralized and local action. Involved neighborhoods, for example, that arrange their own mobility. The cooperative is an important tool for this. In a cooperative, local residents work together to achieve more than each on his own. Together they provide a necessity of life: the freedom to move. Within this theme we want to train different types of stakeholders to enable and set up self-organization. We do this in the Commons Academy. In this context, "commons" refers to a shared resource collectively managed by a community for mutual benefit.

Five groups

In the academy, we focus on five different groups:

  • Citizens

    As a citizen, how do you build commons with other parties in society, such as a car-sharing cooperative? What responsibilities do you take on and how do you connect your vision of your neighborhood to those of other residents and parties in society?

  • Business

    How can a company contribute to commons? This requires a different approach than companies are generally used to. The interest of society is central and all other aspects are secondary.

  • Governments

    How can a government agency facilitate and contribute to the development of commons? A government will participate much more actively and shape a new form of collaboration with citizens.

  • Knowledge Institutes

    How can a knowledge institution contribute to commons by unlocking knowledge? Ties with civic organizations are central and there are no dependencies on business.

  • Capital

    Where does capital come from for commons development and how do you unlock capital to deploy it most effectively?

To work successfully on commons, all parties work together in an open environment.

Photo of a group of seniors on a picnic bench in a city neighborhood
Photo of a red electric share car in a parking lot

Getting Started

One of the concrete examples within this theme is the 'DEEL' project. With tools and guidance, we help local residents set up their own cooperative. Within that cooperative, the existing cars are used as shared cars for all members of the cooperative. So the cooperative owns the cars, and residents arrange their own mobility among themselves. This makes DEEL different from other car-sharing initiatives. It has no profit motive, and is therefore also much cheaper. There are currently five cooperatives active in The Hague, three in Amsterdam and one in Utrecht. Read more here. We want to expand this to other cities: learn from each other's experiences and instruments, and where possible link to commons with other goals such as housing, energy and public space and/or health.

Your point of contact

Want to know more? Then contact Walter Dresscher, theme leader Self-Organization.

Self-organization is crucial to creating resilient, sustainable communities. People improve the quality of life in their own neighborhoods.

Portrait photo of Walther Dresscher
Improving the quality of life together.

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