The population in rural areas in the northern provinces are aging in a much higher pace than in other parts of the Netherlands. Many young and higher educated citizens move out of these provinces. Quality of life in rural villages decreases likewise and the inhabitants that stay behind are more vulnerable, with lower income and educational levels. Recent decentralization policies put a larger burden on local constituencies to guarantee the quality of the living environment but a lot of them lack sufficient knowledge and capacity to tackle this complex issue.
The initiators of this application have joined their knowledge and experience to put together a consortium with the aim to support these smaller constituencies in rural areas in the three northern provinces with a new and innovative methodology: the GO! approach. This approach was developed in the neigborhoods of Utrecht municipality and will be used for the first time in rural communities with a comparable size .
This approach consists of the following steps:
• First to identify possibilities to create a healthier living environment by analyzing available data on pollution, spatial layout and social cohesion.
• To discuss the result of this analysis with local citizens and other local stakeholders in order to link the data with local experiences
• To prioritize into major themes as a result of the combination of all this available information.
• To link these major themes to combinations effective measures available from RIVM and international databases.
• To present these combinations to the local government, their citizens and other local stakeholders in order to let them choose for an effective approach and inplemant it together in order to create a local healthier living environment.
The GO! approach will provide local citizens and professionals with the necessary tools and knowledge to work jointly and effectively to realize a healthier living environment. The project partners that jointly started the consortium will put in effort during this first year to build and formalize the consortium and to make arrangements with several constituencies in the three northers provinces to formulate their own specific knowledge agenda as a basis for concrete project proposals in the second stage to be implemented with the support of the formalized consortium.