SMARTDEST final conference in Barcelona

3.5-year H2020 project on tourism and social exclusion in European cities

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On September 15 and 16, Guido Stompff, professor in Design Thinking, and Roos Gerritsma, associate professor in Societal Impact Design, were present at the SMARTDEST final conference in Barcelona, on behalf of the entire Inholland team that has been working on the Amsterdam case for this EU H2020 project for the past 3.5 years. Also on the team were our Creative Business Research Center colleagues Swen Waterreus, Ko Koens, Donagh Horgan and Ellen Bulthuis. 

On Friday, September 15, Roos presented the work that zooms in on insights gained around the unclear field of who all is (not) involved in developing new tourism policy. On the basis of almost 30 interviews with various stakeholders, it became evident that there is no clear picture about this and that this once again indicates the complexity of shaping such a policy. The obvious way to do this in the Netherlands is through participatory methods, but participants in such processes increasingly fail to see the point. ‘Cuckoo-clock participation’, in which a party comes to collect or bring information once, is not helpful either, but it is common. Congressmen from cities like Vienna, Lisbon, Naples and Barcelona recognized this. One of the questions we continue to ask from our Research Center is: how then? Can our Urban Leisure & Tourism Labs in Amsterdam and Rotterdam change this? Three policy makers from the City of Amsterdam also traveled with us; we will explore these questions with them in the coming years. 


On Saturday, Guido was the moderator of the public debate that was led by him around four central themes. Representatives from various backgrounds were invited, ranging from activists, scientists and journalists to the hotel industry, and managing director Maya Janssen participated from amsterdam&partners. Among other things, she explained that amsterdam&partners focuses on the common interest in helping to shape the city in which we want to live, work and recreate. These were fascinating conversations, during which we realized once again that the more southern countries seem to focus more explicitly on the political arena and the importance of the ‘urban commons’. These were fascinating conversations, once again realizing that the more southern countries seem to be focusing more explicitly on the political arena and the importance of the 'urban commons' (shared facilities in a city, such as infrastructure, hospitals, parks, etc.). 


European cities are changing rapidly and increasingly becoming a 'mobility hub' of a mix of temporary users (from expat to exchange student, from resident to tourist), with all the consequences that this entails. This phenomenon will also remain on the research agenda for colleagues in the New Urban Tourism research group in the coming years. 


In the coming weeks, all research data will be collected from all cities, you can find more information via this link: www.smartdest.eu