Commissioned by the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, PUC worked on the preparations for the first so-called Town Deal. This partnership aims to use innovative solutions to improve the housing market, level of facilities and business climate in regions facing population decline.
A New Boost for Struggling Regions
A number of regions in the Netherlands, especially on the edges of the country, face population decline due to an ageing population as well as an outflow of younger residents. This trend has a strong impact on the long-term liveability of these areas. Amenities and jobs are disappearing, and the housing stock is ageing. To turn the tide, unorthodox solutions are needed. Inspired by the successful City Deals, in which large Dutch municipalities work together, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations wanted to launch Town Deals. Town Deals are aimed at getting these municipalities to work on tackling these challenges in collaboration with diverse partners and with the support of the central government. It gives municipalities the opportunity to think out of the box and try out innovative ideas and methods off the beaten track.
It gives municipalities the opportunity to think out of the box and try out innovative ideas and methods off the beaten track
Shaping the First Town Deal
PUC was asked to play a creative role in the preliminary process of this first Town Deal. We held talks with all potential participating municipalities, examined their problems and needs, and jointly explored possible ideas and projects that could be implemented within the Town Deal. To this end, we organised a creative event in Utrecht, where municipalities were introduced to each other and challenged to come up with concrete drivers, scenarios and solutions that could be implemented within the Town Deal. In order to unleash as much creativity as possible during this session, we invited a number of entrepreneurs, initiators and idea-makers from all over the Netherlands who are themselves already involved in innovative projects around living, amenities and economy in rural regions. The ideas and insights that emerged from this event and trajectory served as inspiration for the implementation of the final Town Deal, which was officially launched on 11 May 2023 with the signing of the partnership by the five participating municipalities — Beesel, Bronckhorst, Voerendaal, Het Hogeland, and Noardeast-Fryslân.