'Making an impact in the neighbourhood depends entirely on the students themselves'

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

Rusen Koc, in a black shirt and hair tied back, stands in front of their presentation
Rusen doing a word of welcome

During the kick-off meeting on Wednesday 29 March, master students affiliated with the Thesis Hub The Hague South-West 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 given the opportunity to provide feedback. A wide variety of stakeholders attended the presentations: from local residents from The Hague South-West to clients of housing associations. After all the 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

David delivers their presentation to students, dressed in a floral sweater. Audience is in the fore of the image
David presenting their thesis

Various students from different courses join the Thesis Hub. This ensures that all kinds of issues from The Hague South-West are addressed. From 'densification and participation' to 'municipal poverty policy'. Students from TU Delft, Erasmus University and Leiden University all deal with their own issue from their own discipline. In their thesis process, students translate to local 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 South-West offers opportunities. It gives students the chance to make an innovative contribution to the issues at play in the neighbourhood. Ruşen Koç, 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 actually 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 about their intentions for The Hague South-West. In addition, the practical feedback adds value to the description of his research design.

Joost presenting to the audience, wears a black shirt. The audience is in the fore of the image.
Joost presenting their thesis

An insightful experience

For the students, the kick-off meeting is a learning experience to help them move forward with their theses. By engaging with local residents, policy staff or neighbourhood professionals, they gain more clarity on the context and topic they are engaging in. In this way, the Thesis Hub ensures the relevant connection between students' research and the needs in The Hague South-West. 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.