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How do you keep a region like the South-western Delta liveable and vital? It is a major theme for HZ University of Applied Sciences. Vitality is a broad and varied subject. It has to do with the vitality of the more than 380,000 residents in Zeeland, but also with the millions of guests who visit the region every year. In addition, the practice-based research focuses on how to create and maintain vital neighbourhoods, vital villages and cities and vital economic entities such as companies. Broad prosperity is a central term in the research in the field of vitality.

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Research groups

There are several research groups that conduct vitality-related research.

Projects & publications related to the vitality theme


We Got to Move

The theme of this story is that we got to move. The world around us is changing. We, as members of a particular society, have no other option but to adapt to and face changing conditions and beliefs. Take, for example, climate change that is likely to have a large impact on our lives in the decades to come. It is well-researched and commonly accepted that climate change is caused by exhaustion of natural resources like oil, gas and coal. However, not everyone agrees. There are leaders who dismiss the theory of man induced climate change as a delusion arguing that climate change has natural causes. Nevertheless, the world at large has to do something because species are endangered to extinction and some people already have to deal with life-threatening conditions such as flooding, forest fires, and water shortage. We got to move and we have to do this collectively with a common purpose. Otherwise, the problems caused by climate change will be beyond control in the future. In the process of adaptation, sacrifices have to be made to reduce our footprint. Not everyone is willing to pay this price making the process seemingly doomed from the start: too little, too late. So, what can we do to act appropriately? Of course, climate change is a large, so-called wicked problem. Wicked problems have several characteristics in common, including the following: causes and effects of a problem are not well understood or even denied;stakeholders have different values and opinions;it is typically unclear what measures should be taken. Other wicked problems include geo-political conflicts causing mass immigration, expensive and insufficient healthcare, poverty and other forms of social injustice. These world-wide wicked problems cannot be solved easily. This does not mean, however, that we cannot do anything about it. We want to send a message of hope. The maxim is: think globally, act locally. The social theory of a sustainable, collaborative learning society discussed in this book provides a way to do so. The social theory can be regarded as a social innovation process with which arguably desirable and culturally feasible changes can be implemented thereby guaranteeing that these changes will have a lasting impact. This can start locally but has the potential to expand to a much larger scope. The title of this (online) book - We got to move - was inspired by the spiritual song You gotta move. Formally speaking, the phrase - We got to move - should be written as: We've got to move.

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Zeeuwse Praktijkroute Ouderenzorg (ZPO)

HZ University of Applied Sciences is involved with the associate professorship Healthy Region as an evaluation partner. The associate professorship maps the added value of the ZPO programme. Also, the HZ's higher vocational nursing course is involved within the ZPO. Nursing students are challenged in the various elderly care organisations to solve issues with other (future) professionals in the form of a learning community. Within the learning communities, Care and Welfare students from both Scalda and HZ, as well as other students with links to the learning community, are involved. The intention of the learning communities is for aspiring professionals of various levels of education to learn together with care professionals, clients and/or relatives using real-life client problems. The common goal here is to promote interprofessional cooperation and to share and develop knowledge together. This contributes to the individual learning process of each individual involved and leads to lifelong learning. Also, the aim for this learning community is to contribute to quality improvement within the organisation. The learning community is designed to better prepare students for work in practice, makes professionals lifelong learners and permanently improves the quality of care. The partners opt for co-creation between education and healthcare providers so that education is closely linked to questions from the professional field. Students put the subject matter directly into practice and immediately place what they have learned in an appropriate context. Furthermore, teachers stay up-to-date in their field by interacting with daily practice and clients and families see that their topical issues are addressed and possibly solved.