Mayor meets designer

Exploitation of employees, the temptation of ‘quick money’ for young people, the capricious atmosphere at the end of a night out, invisible crime and the role of citizens in identifying possible criminal activities.

Type Update
Published on 15 October 2019
Part of Embassy of Safety
Mayor meets designer
Part of Embassy of Safety

Five mayors shared their ‘concerns’ for Mayor meets Designer: urgent questions in the field of safety for which no ready-made solutions yet exist within the municipality. But what if you approach the question from a designer’s perspective? And what if the designer gets a chance to observe a mayor?

Muzus, This is BOUW, Design Innovation Group, Studio Daan Wubben and Studio 1:1 together with the mayors of five Dutch cities searched for answers last week, in the form of a concept, scenario or vision. During Dutch Design Week the first results of these special collaborations will be presented.

And in the future… The mayor as a designer, or the designer as mayor? Visit the Embassy of Safety exhibition and discover it for yourself.

Mayor Jan Boelhouwer (Gilze and Rijen) x Daan Wubben (Studio Daan Wubben)

Whistleblowers in Gilze and Rijen
The central clock for statistics

We know that organised crime in the Netherlands is extensive. However, we are often unaware of how intertwined this underworld is with everyday life. Many of the drug laboratories in the Netherlands are located in ‘ordinary’ residential areas. And so we avert our eyes from crime and its hidden impact on our daily lives.

Daan Wubbe & Jan Boelhouwer

Daan Wubben’s ‘De Klokkenluiders’ (The Whistleblowers) reveal the true day-to-day figures for criminal activities in the immediate vicinity. Through locating clocks in public spaces, displaying the current state of affairs in figures, the information is visualised, and we start talking about it. Bringing the subject and the annual figures to life and making us more aware of what could happen in our street.

Mayor Jan Hamming (Zaanstad) x Neele Kistemaker (Muzus)

Over the edge of the rules

The Zaan region. Europe’s first large-scale industrial area. In its heyday there were 639 working mills, a gigantic industry. Large employers established their roots here, the pride of the Netherlands. Our business climate facilitates this. It creates possibilities for our commercial spirit, and it allows businesses to succeed. So that society can flourish and everyone benefits.

Neele Kistemaker & Jan Hamming

This business climate sometimes tempts us to break the rules. With self-enrichment as a goal and exploitation as a means to an end. While everything on paper is correct. From outside the Netherlands, these entrepreneurs import ‘human resources’ to provide us with cheap hotel rooms and snacks. Labour as raw material.

Muzus is investigating where intervention in this inhumane import system looks promising. Tackling the source, blocking the route or placing the (in)humanity under the magnifying glass. If punishment is unsuccessful, perhaps  rewarding will be?

Mayor Theo Weterings (Tilburg) x Lucas Zoutendijk (Studio 1:1)

Animal Task Force

The undermining of society is a major problem in the Netherlands. It is estimated that this relatively invisible form of crime involves 25 billion per year. As the networks and activities of, for example, drug criminals are able to spread unseen throughout our society, enforcement becomes increasingly difficult.

Lucas Zoutendijk & Theo Weterings

How do we as a community still keep a grip on what is happening in our neighbourhoods? And what role can the (benevolent) citizen play in detecting irregularities?

Studio 1:1 calls in the help of extra ears, eyes and noses from the neighbourhood and deploys an ‘animal task force’! A concept in which animals and owners investigate the safety of the neighbourhood.

Mayor Charlie Aptroot (Zoetermeer) x Design Innovation Group

The tipping point of the night

Saturday nights in Zoetermeer start quietly, but regularly the atmosphere becomes grim at the end of the night and guards and police have to take tough action. Reason enough for Mayor Aptroot to focus on the nightlife together with designers from the Design Innovation Group. Through scrutinizing the environment, individual and group behaviour of nightlife revellers, three concepts have been developed to counteract nightlife violence: a weather machine, a cooling down cabin and an interactive game. Can these unconventional solutions help Zoetermeer stay calm?

Design Innovation Group & Charlie Aptroot

Burgemeester Paul Depla (Breda) x Laura Ferriere & Eléonore Dürr (This is BOUW)

The Alternative Road

Both local government and police officers in Breda signal high levels of teenage school dropouts starting at the age of 12. Combined with the power of criminal role-models, these dropouts result in violence or drug trafficking at an early age. The current system of reinsertion still focuses on the traditional approach of improving housing, work and family conditions, despite shifting priorities of a young and highly influenceable crowd, which lead a digital social life where image is more important than ever.

This is BOUW & Paul Depla

With this in mind, the civic designers of This is BOUW engaged their research with an analysis of the journey from childhood to adulthood. The first insights from this research led to The Alternative Road, a concept to get a renewed motivation and grip on a child’s future path. A self-made solution which acts as a substitute to the temptations of a criminal career.

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