Welcome to the second release in our series Discover DUST, where we spotlight each of the partners in the project and share their roles and interests in Democratising Just Sustainability Transitions! Today, we introduce our lead partner in the project: Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
In conducting the DUST consortium, three departments join forces, led by the Department of Urbanism which specializes in knowledge-based, design-oriented, and multiscale spatial planning and governance approaches. The department brings a lot of knowledge from their other work, in projects for the design and development of policy, the development and implementation of practical tools as well as their leadership and participation in (inter)national networks. Their vast experience is exemplified by a high level of scientific output, a high number of prestigious ERC grants and successes in NWO and Horizon2020 funding.
The Department of Urbanism is supported by two others. The Department of Management in the Built Environment supports the DUST project with its specific expertise in participatory approaches to just sustainability transitions. The Department of Multi-Actor Systems brings to the project extensive knowledge on digital participatory instruments. Drawing on its abundant experience in supporting EU-funded projects, TU Delft’s Innovation & Impact Centre (I&IC) is responsible for the DUST project management.
All three departments at TU Delft are well positioned to lead the consortium in investigation of citizen participation in the deliberative governance of place-based policy approaches to just sustainability transitions. At the heart of the project lies the ambition to hear the voices of the unheard in multi-level policy contexts, by considering the politically least-engaged communities. TU Delft seeks to realise this through many innovative and effective management and research methods. Special interest is shown to the instruments deployed in participatory experiments, to investigate the potential of a hybrid format that applies innovative design-led territorial and digital tools for citizen participation in just sustainability transitions. Results of the experiments will show how these novel instruments can empower communities by enhancing their ability to anticipate and envision regional structural change, build capacity through consensus formation in a pluralistic and inclusive decision environment, and position themselves more strategically and forcefully in democratic life at scale.
In addition to leading the project's experiments, TU Delft also works closely with the societal partners, to maximise local impact. DUST seeks to support communities in deliberating about their concerns in strategically selected policy arenas, and to scale up participation from the local to the regional level and beyond. The project emphasizes self-governing, sociality, identity, and social justice as important rationales for governing. To do this and develop learnings for the whole of Europe, effective and collaborative relationships between knowledge partners and societal partners are key. Following the guiding motto for the project, a quote by Marc Lemaître, Director-General at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, “This transition has to be locally owned, and everyone must be involved”.