Recht op de stad (Rods) is an example of an urban social movement (USM) where several local neighborhood protest groups (NPGs) transitioned from protest to a collaborative city-wide movement. Rods emerged based on discontent with the prevailing multi-level housing policy in Rotterdam. Several local NPGs combined forces, together with individual urban professionals, creatives, and other engaged citizens. This master thesis provides insight in this complex transition by looking at the conditions that contribute to the process. A better understanding of these conditions is relevant as citizens are increasingly seen by the government as contributors to collectively tackle wicked challenges. Moreover, the aim of this thesis is to combine two streams of literature. By bringing the politically oriented theory on USMs and the governance-oriented theory on CBIs together, a contribution is made to an existing gap in the literature. Based on the insights of the literature a conceptual model was created consisting of five possible conditions that contribute to the process of transition: community leadership, social capital, organizational capacity, government support, and the policy context. To gather data, an in-depth single case study was conducted, consisting of semi-structured interviews, observations of plenary meetings of Rods, and building on secondary sources such as newspapers and blogs. Through the method of snowballing, respondents were selected, which allowed a good insight in the process of transition. Three phases could be distinguished when analyzing the process of transition. From protest as the first phase, over transition as the second phase to collaboration as the third phase. The first conclusion is that the policy context is a stable condition that shapes the process of transition. Additionally, each phase is associated with its own combination of conditions. In the end, all these phases shape the process from protest to collaboration. Another conclusion is that the conceptual model, that was primarily building on governance conditions for CBIs, is also suitable to study other forms of citizen self-organization. However, the condition of knowledge has proven to be highly important for the emergence of the current collaborative attitude of Rods, thus adding knowledge to the conceptual model might be necessary although further research on this condition is required too.

Prof. dr. Jan Fransen, Prof. dr. Jurian Edelenbos
Public Administration
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Cas Vercruysse. (2022, August 7). Recht op de stad. Transitioning from local neighborhood protests to a city-wide collaborative urban social movement. Public Administration. Retrieved from