Rural service provision through citizen initiatives: stable alternative or a spur-of-the-moment?

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Against the backdrop of depopulation and Big Society, citizen initiatives in rural areas are believed to be able to mitigate service-provision inequalities between urban and peripheral regions. Factors influencing the success and failure of such citizen initiatives and their potential in providing solutions to perceived problems have thus far hardly been explored. Our previous work on potential aspects of success and failure indicates that the durability of an initiative does not necessarily define the success of the initiative. Studies have neglected the question of continuity and what will happen when the initiators put down their efforts. In what way do initiators transfer their responsibility and is there a sense of problem ownership?
This paper aims to conceptualize factors influencing the continuity of citizen initiatives and provide insight in the processes that take place when initiators stop their activities. Further, the study aims to identify who claims ownership of the issue the initiative focuses on. An inventory of citizen initiatives was made in the three northern provinces of the Netherlands, where rural areas experience depopulation. Questionnaires focusing on how initiatives think about their future, especially when the initiators stop, were sent to around 600 initiatives. The results will add to future research on success and failure of citizen initiatives, but also provide insights for citizen initiatives and ways local governments try to facilitate them.
Original languageDutch
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2016
EventInternational Study Week: Inclusion and Diversity - University of Siegen, Siegen, Germany
Duration: 15 Nov 201617 Nov 2016


ConferenceInternational Study Week
Abbreviated titleISW
Internet address


  • citizen initiatives
  • rural areas
  • continuity

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