The Dutch government has announced that the National Growth Fund will allocate 60 million euros and 40 million euros conditionally to the project 'Future-proof Living Environment: Transition to Emission-Free, Circular and Climate-Proof Building and Infrastructure'. The proposal was submitted by a consortium of 130 parties from the government, market and science. Part of the proposal is a collaboration between the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (University of Twente) and the Faculty of Religion and Theology (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), in particular the Amsterdam Centre for Religion & Sustainable Development (ACRSD).
The Netherlands is one of the most urbanised areas in the world. Metropolitan regions like Amsterdam face a colossal task. Maintaining bridges, quay walls and roads is already a huge task, but making them climate-adaptive is an even more significant challenge. Business as usual will not suffice, resulting in lurking pessimism, polarisation and paralysis.
UT researcher Ernst Bohlmeijer: "Transitions aimed at sustainability will only succeed if stakeholders with different interests find each other in a shared inspiration and trust. We want to contribute to this with new instruments focusing on meaning, imagination and creative design." The consortium is convinced that the transition to a future-proof living environment requires a good synergy of technical and social innovations.
In various (religious) wisdom traditions, hope emerges as an alternative to pessimism and optimism to relate to radical uncertainty. The innovative line of research of theology, psychology and economics as the good life based on hope is central to the Growth Fund proposal to support and deepen trajectories on culture change and new forms of collaboration. "It is a wonderful challenge to connect technological innovations with meaning and hope in the context of necessary transitions," Bohlmeijer said.
In the proposal, the Vrije Universiteit - led by initiators Dr Jan Jorrit Hasselaar (director ACRSD) and Dr Johan Roeland - and the University of Twente - led by Prof Dr Ernst Bohlmeijer (Psychology, Health & Technology, PGT; Faculty BMS) and Dr Hanneke Scholten (Communication Science, CS; Faculty BMS) - are collaborating on this line of hope, a product of an interdisciplinary research programme between the two universities and the City of Amsterdam. Ernst Bohlmeijer is also one of the University of Twente's Featured Scientists.