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Successful neighbourhood management depends on the effort of the residents. A neighbourhood management company has been set up at Stedenwijk Almere, local residents being jointly responsible for neighbourhood management.
The residents of Stedenwijk, one of the earlier districts in the still young new town of Almere, were dissatisfied with the management of their area. This was expressed by amongst other things higher migration levels, rent arrears and a lack of involvement in what was happening in the neighbourhood. On the initiative of two housing associations, a neighbourhood management company was set up which is jointly responsible for administering the urban district.
The principle of neighbourhood management companies came from France. There, so-called
neighbourhood companies, "regies de quartier', formed largely from neighbourhood
residents, operate in 60 municipalities. Their field of activity covers maintenance and
services the neighbourhood. 'Regies de quartier' are commissioned by housing associations,
municipal services and residents.
The Stedenwijk management company has three objectives: to ensure a clean, properly maintained residential district, to aim for sufficient participation by neighbourhood residents and to create jobs for residents to improve their financial situation. The Stedenwijk neighbourhood management company is concerned with the maintenance dwellings and the residential environment. Work is done for the municipality in the residential environment field, such as maintaining small squares in Stedenwijk-North and Stedenwijk-Central and the associated open space. The housing associations place orders for housing maintenance, such as pointing and painting work.
Residents can become members of the management company. Members have their homes serviced once a year. Such servicing includes a check on repairs and doors, frames, sanitary fittings etc. Additional attention is paid during the holiday period and a discount is granted on digging, raking and mowing in the garden.
The result of all activities is that social control has increased in Stedenwijk; the
district is benefiting from it and job opportunities have been created (on a small scale).
Residents and the housing associates are the founders and, together with the
municipality, they are also the main customers of the neighbourhood management company.
The management is similarly drawn from residents and employees of the two housing
associations. These are not the staff responsible for placing orders. A conflict of
interest is thereby avoided.
A survey (1992) revealed that the Stedenwijk neighbourhood management company was financially viable. For the first year, 1993, a turnover was anticipated of 175,000 guilders. This income was obtained from orders from the housing associations (approximately 130,000 guilders) and the Municipal Public Works Department (approximately 45,000 guilders). An efficient approach had to ensure the necessary financial and other continuity and sufficient backing. Any shortfalls would have to be covered by the housing associations. As a prerequisite, they required at least 50% of tenants to be members of the management companies. After an initial recruitment drive, 30% of residents had already joined. As a result, the neighbourhood management company could quickly set to work (May 1993).
WVA Housing Foundation, Almere
Goede Stede Housing Association, Almere
Werkgroep 2duizend, Amersfoort
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