EDL De Coevering

How can social enterprises involve residents in making their own neighborhood more vibrant? This question is central in an experiment in the neighborhood ‘De Coevering’ in the municipality of Geldrop-Mierlo. ‘De Coevering’ is characterized by low incomes, loads of unemployment, and high obesity numbers. Social designers of VanBerlo and Industrial Design students of the TU/e ventured out into research, in preparation for a long-term project in the form of an ‘Experiential Design Landscape’ (EDL).

Drinking coffee

The designers made a scan of the neighborhood. They did this by going door-to-door and drinking coffee in the community center and at the local hairdresser. With a few residents they organized workshops combined with interviews. The conversations provided valuable and surprising insights. Where the field of healthcare and well-being traditionally works supply-oriented, with the prevention of diseases as the primary focus, it turns out that health and fitness is a ‘non-item’ for many residents. Social contact is more important to them. Moreover, it was also shown that they often had little faith in professionals that work for government or in healthcare for example. It is important that social workers build a trustworthy relationship with inhabitants, by listening well and offering them support in what they need. This as a basis for organizing a social structure that literally and figuratively gets people in motion.

Think-tank

EDL ‘De Coevering’ is an initiative from the think-tank for prevention and health improvement of ‘Slimmer Leven 2020’, where organizations and companies participate in giving substance to the challenge of healthy and active living. Whereby, it is firmly about ‘healthy’ in a social context, with a broader definition than merely ‘the absence of disease’. Members are among others: the town Geldrop, GGD Zuidoost Brabant, TU/e, ZuidZorg, VGZ, St. Annagroep, MedicInfo, GGzE, Lunetzorg, Fontys Sporthogeschool, and Summa College.

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