Volwaardige Participatie: new living concepts for homeless youth

June 1, 2020 — December 31, 2020


  • TAAK: Theo Tegelaers, Tibor Bijl
  • Building Conversation (co-producer) – Platform for dialogical art
  • Patrick Roegiers – Architect and urban planner
  • Bengin Dawod – Architect and urban planner
  • Annette Kouwenhoven – Artist and designer for social innovation
  • Anna Honigh – Youth care worker and VIA-coordinator Foundation Streetcornerwork
  • Janneke Gulen – Education Manager ROC op Maat, ROC Amsterdam
  • Rainbow Soulclub – Encounters between artists, students, and homeless people
  • Gemeente Den Haag
  • Stichting Straat Consulaat

This spring, TAAK responded to the Open Call by the Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie for proposals of new living concepts for homeless youth. The proposal of TAAK, co-producer Building Conversation and partners, titled Volwaardige Participatie, was one of the five accepted projects. In this co-production, TAAK and Building Conversation bring together creators, social organizations, municipalities, and experts by experience to explore innovative living concepts for homeless young adults. In times of Covid-19 restrictions, the situation of the homeless is extra precarious, and the need to call attention to this issue even more urgent.  

In the Netherlands, much is being done to combat (imminent) homelessness among young adults. However, there are gaps between what is being offered and what is structurally required. The partners involved in Volwaardige Participatie — Building Conversation, Patrick Roegiers, Bengin Dawod, Rainbow Soulclub, Annette Kouwenhoven, Anna Honigh, Janneke Gulen, and TAAK — are focusing on the design of a physical space for homeless youth in conversation with these young adults. This responds to a need identified by the Dutch government in the document ‘Actieprogramma Dak- En Thuisloze Jongeren 2019-2021’, namely for young adults to be approached in understandable language and from a place of trust.

Volwaardige Participatie aims to transform the dependent position of young adults into one of ownership over their situation. As partners, we are not just concerned with providing a roof over their heads, but also with creating conditions for putting their lives back on track. We believe it is essential that young people are enabled to step forward and contribute to the conversation about effective solutions to homelessness. How are they empowered to express themselves? To facilitate an equal conversation, we work with the methods of Building Conversation. The results will contain recommendations on a systems-level, as well as perspectives and concrete suggestions.

TAAK steps into the role of coordinator of the research, dialogue, and design. In the first phase, we bring together young adults, their families, older experts by experience, executives, social workers, and neighbors to investigate viable solutions to homelessness. In the second phase, collective design workshops led by Rainbow Soulclub and architects Patrick Roegiers and Bengin Dawod lead to the development of new living concepts that are widely supported by the people involved. For many years now, Rainbow Soulclub has been bringing together homeless people and artists to allow both groups to learn from each other. The participating architects both have extensive experience in iterative design research, co-creation, and critical reflection on urban issues. As a collaborative team, we are linked to pilot municipalities to continue the development of the plans.

If you have questions about this project, email tibor@taak.me

Volwaardige Participatie is made possible by Creative Industries Fund.