Design for Community Well-being

‘I think urban tribes, or communities, are becoming increasingly important in our society. Current trends ask for local collaboration of citizens, in other words, the formation of tribes.’


Mention your favourite top 5 Urban Tribes in your city.

First of all Stadsdorp Nieuwmarkt! This is the community I have been working with intensely for the past months. But actually I like to mention other Stadsdorp initiatives as well: Stadsdorp Zuid, Stadsdorp Centrum Oost, Stadsdorp Gracht en Straatjes, Stadsdorp De Pijp, Stadsdorp Vondelpark, and so on.

Other Urban Tribes I like are Peerby, an online platform for sharing stuff with neighbours, VokoMokum, an organic food co-operative of citizens who purchase and share organic food together, and Pakhuis de Zwijger, a platform of social innovators that brings current social issues to the table.


Are you a member of an urban tribe? Why? What makes you a member?

I am a member of Stadsdorp Nieuwmarkt since November 2013. I joined this community for my graduation project I did in collaboration with Waag Society and Stadsdorp Nieuwmarkt. Joining the ‘target’ community was an important step for me to get to know the community, and for the community members to get to know me.

You could join Stadsdorp Nieuwmarkt by registering for the newsletter on their website and then visiting their collective gatherings and so-called ‘Stadsdorp clubs’. During my project I also set up a ‘Stadsdorp club’ so members could subscribe to the co-creation sessions.


What do you see happening in your city regarding tribal movement?

Which trends do you see emerging?

How do urban tribes act and manifest themselves?

What is the urgency of urban tribes? Why do they emerge?

I think urban tribes, or communities, are becoming increasingly important in our society. The national government is encouraging a ‘participatory society’, in which social responsibilities need to be organized on a local level. At the same time, there is also a trend noticeable of citizens who are taking more initiative to seek their own solutions and to become self-reliable, instead of depending on governmental support. Both trends ask for local collaboration of citizens, in other words, the formation of tribes.

Communities often arise in response to their external environment and define themselves in opposition to mainstream norms. People form and join communities because together they can achieve more then they can do alone, so it’s often a means of safety, support and /or power.


What makes an urban tribe a tribe? How are these urban tribes build, how do they act and behave in your city?

Communities exist in all sorts and sizes, but in my view a community is a group of two or more mutually connected people having a shared identity and collective purpose that requires collective action. So this means that a community consists of one or more members who are connected by means of a network-structure and have a collective purpose or mission. On top of this a community has a certain (physical or symbolical) boundary that marks the difference between members and non-members.


What is your question to the community of Urban Tribes?

(How) Are you going to stimulate the development of (local) communities in the Netherlands, and abroad? And how do you ensure organic bottom-up growth of these communities?



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