City Rhythm Amsterdam Zuidoost Case

How can single mothers participate more actively in education, work and so on?

Single mothers in Amsterdam Southeast are having a hard time participating in education, work, administrative activities and even in the special services that are designed for them. The students analyse the daily rhythms of the single mothers and the rhythms of formal organizations. The comparison of these rhythms shows that the single mothers are unable to match their rhythms to formal rhythms of the institutions. Further exploration of the rhythms of the neighbourhood leads to the discovery that there are informal networks in which the single mothers are happy to participate. The students map these networks to show how their rhythms match. Their advice to the municipalities is to invest in these informal networks if they want to reach single mothers, which they have been doing since.

Spatial and functional analyses Holendrecht and Venserpolder neighbourhoods

Caption 1: Spatial and functional analyses in Holendrecht and Venserpolder neighbourhoods.

The Amsterdam Southeast case is concerned with how to influence single mothers to participate more actively in the daily life of the neighbourhood. This case study includes the Holendrecht and the Venserpolder neighbourhoods.

The students interview the single mothers in order to find out more about their situation. Following this, they conduct spatial and ecological analyses on the neighbourhood, to better understand the urban environment where these mothers live.

Daily rhythms single mothers in Holendrecht and Venserpolder

Caption 2: Diagrams showing the comparison between the daily activities of the single mothers and the opening hours of the facilities. 

The interviews show the difficulty the single mothers go through in matching their daily rhythms to rather formal rhythms in the neighbourhood, such as those of the municipality. The students analyse the daily life patterns of single mothers, the community organisations and other activities that they participate in, and those that they do not. These daily patterns are then compared to each other, in order to understand how the different rhythms affect each other. The conclusion of this rhythm analysis is a rhythm mismatch between the single mothers’ and the neighbourhood’s rhythms. 

The rhythm analysis shows that the daily rhythm of the single mothers is defined by their children. In their daily schedule, they have to improvise all the time and even the teacher meeting (which happens twice a year, between 19:00-21:00) can become too much. A single mother reported in one of the interviews that she could not attend these meetings.

During the interviews, the Amsterdam group discover that informal networks such as local organisations are easily matched to the rhythms of the single mothers. They offer an environment where the children can play, no fixed appointment is required, so anybody can walk in at any time, and the people who work in these organizations are more welcoming to the single mothers and their children. Everyday there is someone present to give assistance on admin work or consultancy on other situations. For this reason, the single mothers can match their rhythms to the rhythms of the local organisations. The students analyse the rhythms of 5 local networks in the Holendrecht and the Venserpolder neighbourhoods: local foundations, neighbours, meeting spaces, community centres, municipality. They also document how these locations can be visited: informally, flexible appointments, free walk-in times, and only on appointment. 

‘Map of informal networks in Amsterdam Zuidoost, that the single mothers are part of’ (Source: Pinar Sefkatli, inspired by the student work Minor Responsible Innovation)

Caption 3: Map of informal networks showing what kind of service the local organizations provide to mothers, and how the mothers can visit them.


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Afbeelding credits

Icon afbeelding: Daily rhythms single mothers in Holendrecht and Venserpolder