The municipality of Zoetermeer, would like to improve and upgrade the citypark of Zoetermeer. The park is beloved by the inhabitants of surrounding appartment buildings, they welcome improvements but fear innovations. Design office Carve has been asked to create an upgrading design for this park. 

I designed and have lead this intensive participation process, enabling all different stakeholders (surrounding neighbours, freerunners association, surrounding shop - and office owners) to give their input  in order to create a broadly supported vision, functioning as the base for the design. 


How can we, grown-ups who have unlearned to play, design space to move, learn and play for children? 

Desiging for children cannot be done without them! They know best what their needs are, their fears, they are able to use their fantasy, are less limited by (policy) frameworks. 

Setting up good child participation I combine my dual background in teaching and designing. In the past 10 years I have set up, designed, organised and lead a wide range of participation sessions, all completely unique depending on the task, the challenges and off course the children. Furthermore I  taught designers how to set up good participation sessions and include these in their design process.

For me the key ingredient of true participation is determining the reasons behind their requirementsIn order to ensure equal participation for all participatiing children, I make use of diverse activities, structures and working methods (orally, in writing and visually). To give some examples: drawing analysis, risk mapping, daily routines analysis, social mapping, interviews, children's reporters, life size co-creations, written comments activity, yes/no discussion games, etc. etc.

All participation sessions are uniquely designed, depending on the aims of the participation.

10 years of experience in designing and leading participation sessions in e.g. Amsterdam West, The Hague, Amsterdam Osdorp, Dordrecht, Venlo , Amstelveen, and Cairo. No matter how different the location or context, my main goal is: true invovement to extract underlaying needs, fears and dreams. 



How to organise a participation in which EVERY INDIVIDUAL can have his say, can speak out his/her expectations, fears and ideas about the future of a location? For the renovation of a complex location - a formal skatepark - the municaipality of The hague has commissioned Carve and me to organise a strong participation session with teh neighborhood, (future) users and stakeholders. To avoid an evening where only the most fearless people speak out (often about their fears), we have designed a new participation framework " the participatory card-game": 

In small heterogeneous groups attendants played a cardgame, by which all were actively engaged to speak out by playing their function-cards, chance-cards, access- arrows, watch-out-for-cards, leading to lively discussions between all participants. This participatory card-game approved to engage all participants extremely well, well and will be used in future situations

For the project The Power of Play (Right to Play & Jantje Beton) 25 schools in Rwanda will follow an intensive 8 week (weekly) workshop program to improve their own play areas.

In the workshop children will be in charge of the whole design process: involve other schoolc hildren, involve the community, analyse and map the playground, suggest improvements, re-design their play area ,design and even build the play elements.

Together with Jantje Beton and Right to Play Rwanda, we are developing the teachers and students manual for the workshop program of 8 weeks.  In september 2017 we will refine the program and set up the Train the teachers manuals.  We will train the Rwandese trainers (how to train the teachers, how to succesfully give the workshops) in November in Kigali.


For the project The Power of Play (Right to Play & Jantje Beton) 50 schools in The Netherlands and in Rwanda will follow a workshop program in which children will create new toys by upcycling other elements.

By introduncing all different types of play to the children, with triggering questions, mindbroadening pictures, we challenge the children to tap into their creativity to thinking further than standard upcycled toys.

In the workshop children will be triggered to invent, design, create, construct, build new play materials out of recycled materials. The Rwandese children and the Dutch children will inspire each other what they have created by their own instruction videos showing what they have created.

Together with Jantje Beton and Right to Play Rwanda, we are developing the teachers and students manual for the workshop program.  In september 2017 we will refine the program and set up the Train the teachers manuals.  We will train the Rwandese trainers (how to train the teachers, how to succesfully give the workshops) in November in Kigali.

Wonderful new project in Amsterdam. De Kaap (The cape) is a new building in which childcare and a primary school will form a safe haven for children from 0-12 years old, from 7-7 o'clock. In Eastern Amsterdam.

i am very happy to design the new enclosed schoolyard, in order to give all the 'De Kaap' children a diverse, challenging, green and safe playground. 

The process includes research, strong participation with children, teachers and with the surrounding neighbours. There will be intensive communication with the municipality experts to ensure a 'rainproof', natural and active playground. January and February 2017. PARTICIPATION SESSION with kids was great!



As part of the Haarlem 2040 future vision of Haarlem's municipality, the section culture & econmy has invited me to design, organise and lead a session in which culturally interested inhabitants of Haarlem are invited to depicture their vision on cultural policy in Haarlem in 2040. 

Thirty artists and others working within the cultural field, came together in the metropole's largest cultural incubator (Belcanto, Meurkens&Meurkens), to envision culture in their future city.

As the current situation forms our point of departure, we started with a short introduction about the current cultural basis of Haarlem (museums, monuments, festivals, stages & platforms, and culture fostering spaces). Predicted future trends were briefly highlighted as well. During this presentation the participants wrote down their reactions (and anti-reactions!), leading to important critical input. A quicword relay race, quickly opened up the creativity and imagination.

The main ingredient of the session was the creation-part: groups of 4 diverse participants worked on large panels, to envision their cultural Haarlem of 2040, leading to interesting discussions. The panels depicted their fears, dreams, irritations and wishes for the culture in their future city.

The strongest needs were: to bridge the gap between the old 'conservative' culture and the experimental culture, to create 'new heroes' and cultural satellites throughout the whole city in order to reach a broader audience, and to create more space -literal space and space within the laws and regulations - to experiment, to create and to practice.


The municipality of Haarlem is working on a vision for the future of Haarlem. Commissioned by Haarlem city council, I designed, organised and lead 2 intensive participation sessions to involve Haarlem's children.

By introducing diverse complex scenarios, in simple language and speaking images, children were invited to think along, further than their 'own playgrounds'. In a brainstorm session, children opened up, challenged their imagination, and came up with great ideas. A selfcreated citymap of 4 by 6 meters enabled them to grasp the city and build along. They have created their essential extensions and additions on their city of the future in cardboard.

Both sessions were great, both the groups of children from very diverse neighborhoods (Haarlem center and Haarlem Schalkwijk),  easily broadened their vision and shared their hopeful views and ideas:

more greenery, complete multifunctional buildings, green roofs, prioritisation of slow traffic, futuristic neighborhoods on platforms in the Northsea, wifi integrated in lightpoles, all electricity from windmills and solar panels. 

The result can be read on the website 



In order to create a good new design for this beautiful green playground amidst Amsterdam dwellings, I have had participation session with surrounding neighbours. THe challenge is to guard the qualities of the playground for the youngest children (and their parents!) combining it with the wishes of older children and community members. 

The sketch design will be presented June 2018.

Succesfull workshop #3 Making Space 4 Play. A mixed group of young professionals, students, the area's residents and mainly its children, have succeeded to construct 11 large play elements out of tires for the project as described below. Besides this large (enclosed) playground, we created extra 'satellites of play' in the surrounding public space within the area, an idea which was very welcomed by the local communities. The group process, the interaction with the children and the results are rewarding! Commissioned by the UNHCR and by the German cooperation for zusammenarbeit. 

More pictures can be seen here

Project description: In partnership with takween / tadamun I have designed a public meet&play area in Masaken Othman, an area in 6th of October in which many Syrian refugees live. The project aims to increase the level of peaceful co-existence, integration and mutual acceptation between the local host community and the Syrian refugees in Masaken Othman area through engaging members of these communities in the planning, design and implementation of public space improvements. We co-created a safe and stimulating outdoor area for gathering and playing, which is inviting and accessible for all – especially women and children, regardless of their nationality.