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The city of Tilburg presents itself as a " Modern Industrial City", a strategic vision for the future which gives the key for the city's development in many policy areas. This vision has repercussions for the way the city manages its physical and quality development. Also is chosen for a new organisation of the city administration which became known as The Tilburg Model. In this model the municipality is split in divisions wich operate like profit centres and produce clearly defined products. The basis for the new city management is set in the first City Management Plan made in 1989. From that moment on, city planning and programming in Tilburg are carried out in an organized process.
Tilburg has 165,000 inhabitants, making it the seventh largest city in The Netherlands,
and fulfills a central function in the region of Middle-Brabant. It has grown from a
primarily agricultural city to an industrial one where, until not to long ago, the textile
industry determined the image of the city. Today, the city presents itself as
"Tilburg Modern Industrial City", a strategic vision for the future wich gives
the key for the city's development in many policy areas. This vision has repercussions for
the physical and quality development of the city, as well as for the form of the city
The Tilburg Model
Fifteen years ago, a totally new manner was chosen for the organization of the city
administration wich became known as The Tilburg Model.
City management in theory
The basis for the new city management is set in the first City Management Plan made in
1989. From that moment on, city planning and programming in Tilburg are carried out in an
The city plan is primarily a physical plan for the entire surface area of the city and
gives general guidelines for city policy in a number of areas such as housing, working,
traffic, etc. The key concept in the City Plan is that of 'Basic Quality'. The starting
point is that the city as a whole should offer sufficient basic quality. In order to
maintain this basic quality, the majority of the city requires only normal maintenance.
Areas of the city which offer insufficient basic quality can be designated as special
attention areas for city management. The same is true for the developing areas.
In addition to the above, neighborhood descriptions have been used to develop another method of problem recognition. It is the other part of neigborhood auditing. Through neighborhood descriptions the statistical information can be combined with neighborhood information and, after being matched to the specific situation, can be interpreted. By doing this, the general and specific measurements in the neighborhoods are verified and the scope for it is enlarged.
The publication of the Tilburg's City Plan in 1989 was the catalyst for the first
neighborhood descriptions. In it the residents and users were urged to give their ideas
concerning the establishment of priorities for the annual budgeting of city management
funds. According to a set method, eight neighborhood descriptions were made.
The five-step method
The City Program, as well as the neighborhood and district descriptions, have become a
succes in Tilburg. The starting point of the method is that there is a strong involvement
and interest in the neighborhood and that this interest is made visible. The general
guidelines of the method used consist of five steps wich are as follows: 1.problem
recognition - to identify all problems in the neighborhood;
In order to achieve as direct a connection as possible with the City Plan, a checklist
has been made of the issues in that plan. By using this checklist, the improvement workers
make an inventory of problem areas per district or neighborhood. This inventory is sent to
all known resident organizations, users and superintendents/managers in the neighborhood.
City management in practice
In 1992, a work group made a balance of what had actually been improved in the neighborhoods in the first year and a half. The occasion was also used to update problem area inventories. This evaluation was also made into a folder, presented and talked over in a forum discussion. Unresolved, as well as new problem areas were integrated in the city description system. Based upon this system, resources for 1993 were divided and the implementation of measures was planned.
One of the things wich emerged from the evaluation was that an integrated approach to
the city's problems was not always easy. Methods were sought to make social management a
more structural and integrated part of city management.
One step futher: the City Program
Using input from the basic quality plans and the neighborhood descriptions, the City Plan is given concrete form in The City Program which is drawn up annually. In it, the different areas of the city and their management steps are given. The 'rough draft' of the distribution of the city renewal funds is also given in The City Program.
The city sees the reactions to this program as an important source of information on
areas of concern and problems in the city. The Program has financial space built in so
that reactions can be responsed to. The City Program, after being adapted based on the
reactions recieved is fixed as an element of the city budget in the spring. This procedure
has helped to greatly stimulate the different neighborhoods to list their problem areas
and to create a neighborhood description.
The future of city management
It has become clear that city management in Tilburg is based upon four starting points. In the first place, there is the discussion of what needs to be done in neighborhoods, followed by the creation of a systematic distribution of a means to do it. The second essential step is a discussion about the technical quality of all the policy areas using a systematic basic quality concept. Thirdly, the city would like to involve the residents at a "smaller than neighborhood" scale in the decisions making, to prevent technical bureaucratic decisions from being made wich do not help the actual problems faced in the neighborhoods. The final goal is to integrate city policy at the neighborhood/district level.
City management extends beyond the physical and city-planning quality, because it includes such things as social service facilities, a good environment, etc. Tilburg chooses more and more for an integrated approach which can be applied to the manner in which the city administration works, as well as in the organizational structure of the city. It also means that the city wants to share responsibilities with other organizations, such as housing corporations, social service organizations and citizens themselves.
Progress in vulnerable neigborhoods between 1990 and 1993
Every two year the real effects of the investments in vulnerable neighborhoods are
measured. In order to achieve the necessary information for this kind of comparisons we
use statistical information and survey results. The defined goal, the improvement of the
livebility in neighborhoods is made measurable in this way. The results of the first
comparison shows largely a positive development . We saw a significant improvement of the
situation in the selected neighborhoods in relation to the entire city. Items the research
was based up on were: social cohesion, degeneration, annoyance, unsafety, the possibility
to become a crime victim and traffic problems.
Profit for a city
From 1988 untill present day, the Municipality of Tilburg had money left over every
year. This is one of the results of The Tilburg Model, the way the divisions operate like
profit centres. In the first place, that money is invested in the city. For instance it is
used for cofinancing a new soccer stadium and a concert hall. Tilburg's citizens benefit
from those investments. This approach is also benefical for residents in another way. The
city has been able to limit the increase in the cost of living for her citizens. Tilburg
used to be number seven on the list of most expensive city's in The Netherlands. Now the
city is number 30 on the list, making it one of the cheapest cities in the country.
Openness for proposals from citizens
The cooperation and communication between citizens, the local government, social organisations and businesses is based on accessibility of all necessary information and participation for all. The information is set available by producing and widely spreading several reports with statistics, conclusions about basic quality, results from survey's etc. Communication takes place on several organized platforms, frequent meetings, visits, etc. in the neighborhoods These are important conditions for a more rational negotiation process, more efficient decision-making, higher quality decisions and more democratic decision making. Because fewer wrong decisions are made a reduction of costs is reached. In this situation citizens are more or less partners in the process of improving the quality of life in the neigborhoods of the city. Therefore the Municipality of Tilburg reserves every year in the City Program (turnover: 25 milj. ECU) more than 250.000 ECU for initiatives from citizens to improve the livebility in the neighborhoods.
Municipality of Tilburg
Municipality of Tilburg
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