Eagle View Canvas

One of the first dialogues at the start of the development of our framework in 2015, was about how in concreto to express the diagnosis of a topic, issue or theme. The idea came up – inspired by remote sensing techniques and advanced forest ecosystem research methods –  to use a grid.

Every field in the grid could be used to display the findings and measurements. The collection of fields could express the state of an object, topic or area of study. The grid is flexible, styled, applicable to cities and natural areas and above all easy to understand. And it can be expanded and scaled, thereby be able to link different levels of the system.

Chess board

We decided to choose for the chess board as the basic canvas of the framework, which has 8*8 = 64 fields. It gives the possibility for the creation of an eagle view, for the city or society seen-from-above. It can feel as a map of pixels and by that form a picture.

There was in 2015 and still is in 2022 the conviction, that the chess board is powerful and conceptually well positioned to carry findings of dialogues and attached measurements. Chess players know how versatile and strong the board feels. Its border and inherent limitation is great starting point. It is intellectually spoken an old and proven basis for strategists and thinkers. From the first moment on we experienced the clarity in the expression what we saw.

Black and white

We decided to start using black and white as first expression colours in the fields. White expresses the generic blossoming and balancing act of life in the (parts of the city), communities, society or nature, being the positive outcome of all stakes, interests, strategies, policies and decisions. Black is used for expressing the total of institutions, that represents the steering (some say system) components of law, rule and regulation.

The white canvas is where life dominates and flourishes, the black canvas is where the law and its institutions dominates thinking and acting. The black and white chess board canvas could be a metaphor for the balance between the two. We will discover the potential strength of the canvas to express a wide range of diagnoses.

One picture

The use of the canvas has the advantage that complex issues can be displayed in a relatively compact way. There is an adage that says one picture is worth more than a thousand words, “meaning that complex and sometimes multiple ideas can be conveyed by a single still image, which conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a mere verbal description.” (source Wikipedia)

The chess board of 8*8 fields as the CINETONE® basic canvas for eagle view gives us that possibility of one picture. It is our canvas.


Systems are structured by countless interactions between components, which are driven by the felt or experienced degree of profit of a relation with an other component, expressed as beneficial (+), unfavourable (-) or neutral (0).  Seven types of interactions can be defined, grouped in symbiotic, oppositional and neutral.


Mutualism + +
Components benefit from each other.

Commensalism + o
One component benefits from another that is not affected.

Amensalism o –
One component inflicts harm to another without any costs or benefits received by itself.

Parasitism + –
One component, the parasite, benefits from the interaction, while the other (host) is harmed. It is a form of symbiosis which comes with a price. It actually is a predator but rather than kill quickly, it consumes its host in small pieces. Some types of parasites manage to live permanently inside their host (Wilson et al.).


Competition – –
More components compete for the same resources or between them.

Predation + –
One component hunts (being predator or herbivor) and eats the other (being prey or plant). Within one type of component it is called cannibalism.


Two components that interact but do not affect each other, where interactions are negligible or insignificant.


Michelangelo (1512) The Creation of Adam [fresco]. Rome: Sistine Chapel.

Picture above is a part of Michelangelo (1512)


There are the natural processes, flows and chains, making life possible for the components and communities of the ecosystem, forest or city alike. It is wise to diagnose and know them, because they give insight in the way the ecosystem has built up its resilience and diversity leading to understanding the state of it.

The main natural cycles are related to energy (flow), nutrients and water (cycles). And there are man-made processes related to the governance of the city, such as among others that of democracy, finance, strategy and policy.

They all relate to the core of public life, to resources, essentials and effects of decision making and city management. Cycles and flows are essential in every ecosystem.

    • Water is the key source for life because all humans and communities need it. The cycle can be that of condensation – precipitation – collection – evaporation. But due to human and urban use the cycle has many variants.
    • Energy is key in all what we do. The main cycle is that of energy (solar) – production – fixation (plants) – consumption. Also here there are refinements, but it is good to know that we, inhabitants of the earth are part of the empire of the sun. All life begins here.
    • Nutrient movement includes that of carbon, sulfur, nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen that continually recycle along with other mineral nutrients: production – allocation – consumption – decomposition. Due to our industrial process, the travels of nutrient can be complex and long before the cycle closes. 

In the world of the public domain some processes emerge:

    • Democracy cycle is the process from election and representation to decision making and evaluation. Every 4 or 6 years the cycle is round. It is also called the cycle of power.
    • Strategy cycle is the process of from sensing of trends, developing strategy and policy plan and implement and monitor them related to desired public value.
    • Policy cycle is the process from sensing of trends, developing strategy and policy plan and implement and monitor them related to desired public value.
    • Creation is the process of from sensing of trends, developing strategy and policy plan and implement and monitor them related to desired public value.
    • Delivery is the process of communicating with stakeholders and the acutal delivery of products and services.
    • Finance cycle is the process of collecting and budgeting financial sources to make things possible. It is about financial engineering including taxing, budgetting and spending of money in the public domain.
    • Multi-level governance is the process of connecting with higher and lower levels of society (from Europe to the street). It is a key process to travel across the borders of the different levels of the ecosystem.
    • Ordering is the process of ordering my measuring numbers, dosages and structures of the ecosystem.
    • Compliancy is the process of acting and working according the legislation and rules by checking, verifying, auditing, supervising, examining and measuring correctness.
    • Correction is the process of prompt, immediate and accurate management of crises and disasters to bring society back into balance, i.e. recovery process. These can be related to biotic factors as diseases or abiotic factors as flooding. Compared to society we can speak of rebuilding and recovering from crises and disasters.
    • Succession in case of getting out completely out of balance there is in nature loss and a path towards a next generation. There are no recovery processes in place and the system slides into a next system level.


In nature, ecosystems find themselves in a mosaic of phases of development. The natural forest for example is not something homogenious static, but can be defined as the sum of different phases which at the same time are present and co-exist. This mosaic make the forest to what it is in essence. Each phase is unique and has its own dynamics and architecture.

In forest ecology the approach of diagnosis of this state is advanced and scientifically developed by Oldeman (1990). In his forest diagnosis and design of the forest he combined different sciences and approaches and brought them together in a understandable set of phases of forest architecture. It is an assumption that also cities and within that organisations, the true components of society, follow the same patterns as forests do. Why should they not, if they are considered as belonging to the same earth ecosystem. That cities and organisations also have a palette of eco-units is plausible.

Oldeman (1990) elaborated the phases of architecture of innovation, aggradation, biostatis (maturity) and degradation. In general the next phases can be distinguished: innovation (a new beginning, after a reorganisation or a fire, huge competition, new seedlings), aggradation (the build-up, individuals are in development and growing, in prospect, expansion), biostatis (individuals determining the rules, a balancing act, stable mature phase, rich structure, high biodiversity) and degradation (individuals are in decay, dying, leaving, part of the system collapse).

Within public governance the phase of development of organisations is most of the time underexposed in processes of strategy, policy and implementation. As said, every phase – at least in natural forests – has its own set of ground rules, which of course has to be recognised and respected by its stewards and leaders on one hand and the individuals of the system on the other hand. The present set of phases within an organisation can be influenced by internal (leadership, culture, styles, issues, business continuity demands) as well as external (cyber, corona, flooding, competition) factors.

In what phase is your organisation?


Oldeman, R.A.A. (1990). Forests: Elements of Silvology. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.


The correlation between trait, interaction, role and environment leads to a wide variety of niches and roles, at least in natural ecosystems. The possibility of transposing this correlation from the natural world to that of the city ecosystem, i.e. the world of organisations and society, seems obvious. In the previous section we elaborated on interactions, in this section we focus on traits, environments and roles. 

A trait or character is a feature of a component.

In natural ecosystems ‘traits play a central role, because it is the trait that determine how a species (component in our model) reacts to environmental change, and how this reaction influences ecosystem functions.” (Astor, 2011). There is a direct relation between the trait of an organisation and the effect on the system itself. That is truly an holistic essence. “In this respect functional traits can be defined as those phenotypical components of an organism that influence ecosystem properties or biogeochemical processes, and those that determine the response of an organism to environmental conditions” (Lavorel & Garnier, 2002; Hooper et al.,2005).

Behavioural ecology is the study of the evolutionary basis for animal behaviour due to ecological pressures. Behavioral ecology emerged from ethology after Niko Tinbergen outlined four questions to address when studying animal behavior which are the proximate causes, ontogeny, survival value, and phylogeny of behavior. If an organism has a trait which provides a selective advantage (i.e. has an adaptive significance) in its environment, then natural selection will favor it. Adaptive significance refers to the expression of a trait that affects fitness, measured by an individual’s reproductive success. Adaptive traits are those which produce more copies of the individual’s genes in future generations. Maladaptive traits are those which leave fewer. For example, if a bird able to call more loudly attracts more mates, then a loud call is an adaptive trait for that species because he will mate more frequently than a bird who can not call so loudly, thus sending more loud-calling genes into future generations than the soft-caller does.

Individuals are always in competition with others for limited resources, including food, territories, and mates. Conflict will occur between predators and prey, between rivals for mates, between siblings, mates, and even between parents and their offspring.

The trait: attitude towards cooperation
In the city ecosystem the trait of a component is considered to be the result of cultural factors, type of business and forms of leadership and management. This trait for an optimal development of a city ecosystem is mentioned over and over again in the extended helix concepts.

The trait has been considered as important for the greater good of local and regional development. The philosophy and the approach of the triple and quadruple helix is generally adopted as true, but it all begins with this attitude towards cooperation. The trait incorporates attitude as well as empowerment of an organisation to implement and motivate on cooperation. We developed a rate on an empirical basis from the perspective of city managers with several stages of maturity: secretive, square, delta, rolling and cooperative.

Inward-looking and operating complete independently from other components. Hard to be approached.

Working and focusing mainly on own targets, not aware of the bigger picture they can benefit from. Stiff and leaning back on cooperation.

Improving and learning organisation, more and more aware of environment and possible benefits of improving basic processes to own performance.

Cooperating and networking with main accent on self satisfaction, basic processes are good, has a good network in which it can deliver products and services on a fairly high level.

Cooperating with benefits to the max, well organised and open to cooperation. Initiating alliances and an optimal player in the bigger picture of common goals.


Astor, Tina  (2011) The importance of species traits in biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research .Department of Ecology, SLU, Uppsala Link

Alyssa R. Cirtwill, Anna Eklöf. Feeding environment and other traits shape species’ roles in marine food webs. Ecology Letters, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/ele.12955 Link

Hooper D.U., Chapin F.S., Ewel J.J., Hector A., Inchausti P., Lavorel S., Lawton J.H., Lodge D.M., Loreau M., Naeem S., Schmid B., Setala H., Symstad A.J., Vandermeer J. & Wardle D.A. (2005). Effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning: A consensus of current knowledge. Ecological Monographs, 75, 3‐35. 

Lavorel S. & Garnier E. (2002). Predicting changes in community composition and ecosystem functioning from plant traits: revisiting the Holy Grail. Functional Ecology, 16, 545‐556. 


Elaborating the roles of components within an ecosystem is relevant to understand the dynamics and diversity of it. In principal all roles can be taken by all components and can highly differ depending on time, place, value and factors. It can take more than one role at the same time. Knowing a role of a component in society is key to understand the actual systemic situation we are diagnosing.

Of course laws, rules, regulations and above all the Constitution are elementary in the division of roles and has lead to a more or less predicable attribution of roles among components. With present transitions though a more flexible division is needed and coming.

A usable set can be found in the work of The Quality Institute Dutch Municipalities (KING) and is summarised by Aardema et al. (2005). It is a set of interconnected roles from governance perspective (system world) and from governed perspective (living world). Civitas Naturalis has chosen the chess pieces to symbolise these roles.

Roles in the system world

  • Steward (black king): symbolise, identify, connect, show compassion, taking care, welcome, strengthen cohesion, carry rituals, guard.
  • Regulator (black queen): decisiveness, power, threaten, demand, courage, persevere, set things right, constrain, discipline, set the rules and enforce them.
  • Collector (black bishop): go-between, facilitate, contract, collect tax, process.
  • Developer (black knight): involve, sense of community, strengthen cohesion, share and distribute, (letting) participate, co-create.
  • Service provider (black rook): deliver, serve, provide, distribute, front office.
  • Representative (black pawn): chosen by the people during election in councils, representing the people as citizen.

Roles in the living world

  • Inhabitant (white king): citizen, live in city and neighbourhood.
  • Servant (white queen): obey and follow laws, rules, regulations.
  • Contributor (white bishop): tax pay, contribute, donate, volunteer, support, finance, fund.
  • Partner (white knight): develop, contribute in knowledge, feelings and insights, co-create.
  • Client (white rook): receive products and services, indicate choice.
  • Voter: elect the representatives, the best of the best.


Aardema, H. en A. Korsten (2005). De Staat van de Gemeente: Op weg naar een handzame, landelijke gemeentemonitor. Den Haag: VGS, BMC, PON, Open Universiteit Nederland, InAxis.

Oldeman, R.A.A. (1990). Forests: Elements of Silvology. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.

Picture: Esscher, M.C. (1939/1940). Metamorphosis II. Den Haag: Het Paleis.


The colour wheel of components as used in CINETONE® is a way of illustrating hues related to types of organisations, which are active in the city. This wheel can be useful considering the fact that a city has hundreds, sometimes even thousands of active organisations within its borders. How to order them and keep track of drivers and backgrounds or find out positions in the perspective of the governance of the city? Colours can visualise the network of the city landscape.

Note: the colour wheel is still in development by Stichting Civitas Naturalis and can be subject to change. Amendments will be carried out in this article.

Based on the city – forest analogy as well as on the triangle for main types of organisations – government, business and civil society (Meijer, 2018) – active in the city, the first draft of a component colour wheel was designed by Jack Kruf at Stichting Civitas Naturalis.

There is this believe that linking colours to types or families of organisation can be helpful in understanding and readability in the process of diagnosing the state of the city. Within this concept or framework organisations are considered as the basic components of the city, like organisms in a forest.

Mintzberg (2016) talks about species of organisations, in the way they are managed and focused. He elaborated this idea from his earlier publication Structure in Fives (Mintzberg, 1983). Adding the scope of organisations on content and value approach is a challenging step. Introduction of these types – taxonomically in analogy with that of the classification of species within genera and accordingly within families – is an exploration in itself. The starting point is the basic wheel.

All colours are linked with Pantone Color Matching System, for reasons of standardisation, print and reproduction.

The basic wheel
The colour red symbolises the civil society and as a metaphor the ecosystem of city life. The colour green symbolises the natural environment or better: nature as a whole. Following the triangle the colour blue symbolises government, the colour yellow symbolises business.

Directly related is the colour orange symbolising the true non-governmental side of civil society.Because of the political convictions and their influence on the management of the city – I added political organisations to the basic wheel, represented by the colour purple. Politics is often considered as a part of government in the triangle by underlying democratic principles, but the direct influence on the city landscape justifies a place in the basic wheel. It is connected with blue via election or nomination processes.

The extended wheel

Civil society can be understood as the “third sector” of society, distinct from government and business, and including the family and the private sphere.

Non-governmental organisations are an essental part of civil society, representing relevant public values and interests in a wide diversity, independent and non-profit or not-for-profit.

Education organisations come in a variety of forms. The colour has been chosen because education is the golden lining of human and social development. Education is about improvement and development.

Religion & Thought organisations  is the functional component concerning spiritual and belief and its organisations and institutions. Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviours and practices, morals, world views, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. Thought on the other hand encompasses an aim-oriented flow of ideas and associations that can lead to a reality-oriented conclusion. The colour has been chosen because the moon has a special place in all religion and thought. Beside that it is linked with quietness and its associations and synonyms like peacefulness, peace and quiet, restfulness, calmness, tranquillity and serenity.

Finance organisations enable the flow of money. Financing is their main function, i.e. accepting deposits from the public, creating credit, lending and investing, performed either directly or indirectly through capital markets. Banks and investors belong to this component. The emerge as cooperation, state-owned or privately owned.

The system world is the world of election, governance, rules and regulation, taxes, performance, services, the system and its mechanisms. The colour is linked with the mineraloid Jet, which has an organic origin, being derived from decaying wood under extreme pressure. So the colour has it roots in the living world but because of its structure is now symbolising the system world. Frozen life.

Business organisations come in a wide variety and abundance. All organisation represent the essence and vibrancy of entrepreneurschip. Yellow is the colour of innovation, brightness, power, hope and and positivity.

Media organisations can be defined as the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, that reach or influence people widely.organisations come in a variety of organisational forms. They mostly are close to business oriented starting points and constraints. The deserve a separate place at the table, because of their essential roles in information dissemination as well in governmental checks and balances.

Science organisations can be defined as a systematic enterprise that builds and organises knowledge in the form of testable and verifiable explanations and predictions about the universe. Universities and research institutes belong to this group. They emerge in a variety of forms.

Nature is the functional component representing all natural ecosystems and the organisations related. The colour is an obvious association.

Governmental organisations concern the executive and performing domain of government, most of the time without an elected but a mandate structure in governance. The involved organisations serve the state, province, region or municipality directly and indirectly. They have a mandate to act related to government responsibilities Agencies and parastatals are part of this function.

Governmental councils are key components by which a state, region, city or community is controlled. They in fact are in charge of the public governance of society as well as of the natural environment. It serves its citizens and companies. It can be the (elected) governing council with its management such as a municipality, region, province or specific organisation. The associated colour is Pantone® Imperial Blue. It links with the Latin imperium, meaning ‘rule over large territories’.

Elected councils are representing the people, the citizens through a process of election (in democracies). The colour speaks for itself, because the representation is widely considered as the highest in its forms. They are considered as an elementary and strategic part of government, interacting wit governmental councils and organisations. Their composition is based on formal elected representing members of political organisations.

Political organisations are related to ‘a set of activities associated with the governance of a country or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to members of a group’ (Hague et al., 2013). They refer in essence to the representation of ideas for achieving and exercising positions of governance-organized control over a human community. Machiavelli described politics as the world of ‘power and influence’. The associated colour is Pantone® Violet Tulip. Violet is the colour at the beginning of the visible spectrum, at the place where ideas become tangible and show themselves. And of course there are flowers for voters during election time.

Judiciary organisations is the governmental type of organisation which interprets and applies the law in a country, state or an international community. Courts belong to this component. They focus on the process of study, reduction, deduction and interpretations from laws, rules and regulations and accordingly on the formulation and dictation of decisions and enforcement. They are state-owned, but formally indecently operating.

Indicator organisations are related to natural expressions in art and culture, contributing to re-creation and renaissance.They are marked as a separate family of components because of their signing related to the state of society and its intrinsic indicating value. They come in a wide variety of organisational forms and appearances, but all indicate the state of the heart  of people, groups, society and ecosystems. The chosen colour natural has its own value.

Citizen has a separate colour. It is the prism through which we consider the world. It is symbolising youth, good health, and playfulness. It stand for femininity and romance, sensitivity and tenderness. It’s inherently sweet, cute and charming. It is all the good humans represent.

In the center of the colour wheel, the Living World has been situated. This colour symbolises the virginity, dynamics, creativity, self expression, consciousness, love and life. What is stronger than seeing one’s own footprints in the purity of the driven snow. Proof of life in it’s simplest form.


Hague, R. and M. Harrop ( 2013) Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction. New York: Palgrave Macmillan International Higher Education.

Meijer, A. (2018). Datapolis: A Public Governance Perspective on “Smart Cities”, Perspectives on Public Management and Governance, Volume 1, Issue 3, September 2018, Pages 195–206, https://doi.org/10.1093/ppmgov/gvx017

Mintzberg, H. (1985). Structure in Fives: Designing effective organisations. London: Pearson Education.

Mintzberg, H. (2016). Species of Organizations. Mintzberg.org. https://mintzberg.org/blog/organization-species, Seen on the 10th of October 2020

Picture: Goethe‘s color wheel from his 1810 Theory of Colours

Multi-level governance

Jack Kruf

Multi-level governance is an approach in political science and public administration theory that originated from studies on European integration. According to Piattoni (2001), the political scientists Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks actually developed the concept of multi-level governance in the early 1990s.

It has become one of the key processes for good public governance in the international context. In fact, always was, but never defined or considered as such. The link between all levels of governance in every ecosystem is essential to be effective and efficient in its functioning.

The layering of governance seems in general to follow the principles of the ecological pyramid in natural ecosystems, so some logic can be derived. It must be said though, that from the perspective of city management, there is a wide range of opinions, feelings, views and thoughts around it. It exists but is not generally accepted as the best way forward. What is multi-level governance?

Multi-level (or multilevel) governance is a term used to describe the way power is spread vertically between many levels of government and horizontally across multiple quasi-government and non-governmental organizations and actors. – Cairney et al. (2019)

This situation develops because many countries have multiple levels of government including local, regional, state, national or federal, and many other organisations with interests in policy decisions and outcomes. International governance also operates based on multi-level governance principles. – Wikipedia

In 1996 Hooghe edited a sustained study of cohesion policy in the European Union. The central question was how policymakers can develop a common European policy, and yet give attention to the variation in practice, institutions, and players in the member states.

Later in 2001 Hooghe et al. (2001) explain why multi-level governance has taken place and how it shapes conflict in national and European political arenas and goes into the dual process of centralization and decentralization. At the same time, that authority in many policy areas has shifted to the supranational level of the European Union, so national governments have given subnational regions within countries more say over the lives of their citizens.

At the forefront of scholars who characterize this dual process as multi-level governance, Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks argue that its emergence in the second half of the twentieth century is a watershed in the political development of Europe. According to the authors, it gives expression to the idea that there are many interacting authority structures at work in the emergent global political economy:

“… illuminates the intimate entanglement between the domestic and international levels of authority”.


Cairney, P., Heikkila, T. and Wood, M. (2019) Making Policy in a Complex World (1 ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hooghe, L. (ed.) (1996) Cohesion Policy and European Integration: Building Multi-level Governance. Wotton-under-Edge: Clarendon Press Oxford.

Hooghe, L. and Marks, G. (2001) Multi-Level Governance and European Integration. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Piattoni, S. (2009) Multi-level Governance: a Historical and Conceptual Analysis. European Integration. 31. 2: 163–180.

`Picture: Kruf, J.P. (2006) Levels. Breda: private collection.

De structuurverandering van het publieke domein

Jürgen Habermas

In dit klassieke werk uit 1962 en in het Nederlands uitgegeven in 2015 door Boom Uitgevers, ontwikkelt Duits filosoof en socioloog Jürgen Habermas* zijn theorie over het publieke domein. Volgens Habermas is dit een ruimte waarbinnen rationele discussies kunnen worden gevoerd, vrij van inmenging van de staat en andere dwingende machten.

Habermas beschrijft hoe deze sfeer zijn opgang deed in de bourgeoismaatschappij van de achttiende eeuw, toen koffiehuizen en salons het toneel werden van discussies over sociale en politieke vraagstukken.

De druk van het kapitalisme, massamedia en het totalitarisme op het publieke domein
In latere jaren kwam het publieke domein steeds verder onder druk te staan door de toegenomen rol van het kapitalisme en de daarbij horende nadruk op het eigenbelang. Vervolgens werd het steeds verder uitgehold door de massamedia, de opkomst van het totalitarisme de vervagende grenzen tussen het private en de staat.

Van pessimisme naar oplossing
Na het ontvouwen van dit pessimistische perspectief biedt Habermas de weg naar een oplossing: een machtsvrije wijze van communicatie. De structuurverandering van het publieke domein staat daarmee aan de basis van zijn latere, invloedrijke werk.


Habermas, J. (2015) De structuurverandering van het publieke domein. Amsterdam: Boom Uitgevers (Oorspronkelijke titel: Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit
Vertaling: Jabik Veenbaas)

Afbeelding van de auteur: door Wolfram Huke, http://wolframhuke.de – Verplaatst vanaf en.wikipedia naar Commons door ojs., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3546577

*Jürgen Habermas is een van de laatste nog levende grote filosofen van de twintigste eeuw. Hij is emeritus hoogleraar filosofie in Frankfurt en ontving vele prijzen, waaronder in 2013 de Erasmusprijs.

Zijn werk is internationaal van grote invloed en wordt door een breed publiek gelezen. Bij Uitgeverij Boom verschenen van zijn hand De nieuwe onoverzichtelijkheid (1989), Geloven en weten (2009). Een toekomst voor Europa (2013) en Over democratie (2020).

Lessen uit ‘Wat wel kan’

Jack Kruf

Er zijn niet vaak rapporten – mede door de omvang van de crisis op landelijk niveau (in Nederland) met betrekking tot het dossier stikstof – waar zo naar is uitgekeken dan het rapport van Johan Remkes: ‘Wat wel kan: Uit de impasse en een aanzet voor perspectief’

Er zijn niet veel rapporten die de geschiedenis van Nederland in een dergelijke setting belichten. Geen rapporten waar de spelers op het veld zo helder en onomwonden worden neergezet, hun (eigen) belangen geduid, drives en gedrag beschreven.  

Er is bijna geen rapport zo helder in het feit dat de besturing van het publieke domein – de Grondwet met publieke en persoonlijke waarden van burgers is basis – niet heeft geleverd en op onderdelen zelfs volledig heeft gefaald.

De verklaringen hiervoor staan in het rapport. Het zijn geen afwijkingen van wat wij denken dat kunde van besturen zou moeten zijn uit academisch theoretisch perspectief of van onze ethiek van normen en waarden. Nee, het blijken kernfactoren en -processen van de wereld van bestuurskunde zelve te zijn. Het is de wereld van de dagdagelijkse praktijk van politiek die in het rapport naar voren komt, waarin besturing zich toont in de vorm van macht en invloed. Machiavelli had gelijk. Dit is het resultaat van een collectieve zoektocht van decennia. Het is de Gestalt van de kunde van het besturen en van bestuurskunde: wiebelig en niet secuur.

Wij allen zouden met dit rapport in de hand nu ernstig in de spiegel moeten kijken en ons diep schamen

Het rapport is voer voor bestuurskundigen. Dit rapport legt een wereld van besturing bloot, die ik niet eerder heb gelezen of heb geleerd in de collegezalen der bestuurskunde. Het is alsof wij zelf niet kunnen voldoen aan wat wij vinden dat bestuurskunde zou moeten zijn. Dit rapport bewijst dat. Een kans doet zich voor om de besturing van Nederland – zo helder door de auteur geformuleerd – in hun wetenschap opnieuw door de handen te laten gaan, aan te scherpen, op onderdelen te herzien, uitgangspunten te herwegen c.q. te heroverwegen. Een kans om de wetenschap door te ontwikkelen en in de praktijk te laten landen.

Het rapport is zeker ook voer voor elke kiezer, elke bestuurder, volksvertegenwoordiger, bestuurder, manager, adviseur, controller, strateeg, beleidsmaker en dienstverlener in dienst van overheden, bedrijven, banken en adviesbureaus, voor elke consument, voor elke spaarder en belegger.

Wij allen zouden met dit rapport in de hand nu ernstig in de spiegel moeten kijken en ons diep gaan zitten moeten schamen. Overigens het woord moeten komt zelf 99 keer voor in het rapport. Op zich is dit al een teken aan de wand. Het woord dat verschijnt als de externe drive vele malen groter is dan de interne drive, persoonlijk én zakelijk, privé en publiek.

Ontwerp Kruf (2020), bron De Graaf (2012).

Ik hoop dat dit rapport de klaslokalen ingaat om er (heel veel) van te leren. In mijn ogen heeft de wetenschap van bestuurskunde hier een leidende rol. Immers zij onderzoeken relevante mechanismen in het openbaar bestuur, doceren vele jonge mensen, managers, experts, bestuurders en zelfs adviseren aan het besturend kader van Nederland.

Het woord moeten komt 99 keer voor in het rapport. Op zich is dit al een teken aan de wand.

Hebben wij bestuurskundig iets over het hoofd gezien, dat dit zo uit de hand kon lopen? Wat is de reden dat wij in staat bleken effectief te navigeren naar wat wij wettelijk hebben verankerd inzake borging en bescherming van waarden voor dieren, mensen en natuur? Waarom zijn wij zo aan het tobben en vooruitschuiven? Het zijn hier lessen die geleerd (nog één keer dan)  moeten worden.

Het rapport van Remkes zou aanleiding kunnen zijn een evaluatie van de wetenschap bestuurskunde te starten. Een prikkel voor de diverse universiteiten en hogescholen om de koppen eens bij elkaar te steken en te zien wat geleerd kan en moet worden.

Het rapport is uniek in de Nederlandse geschiedenis en wellicht een turning point in de collectieve analyse van relevante vraagstukken. Ex ante in plaats van ex post is  daarbij wel een dingetje in wat wijzelf zo graag prediken over goede publieke sturing. Een rijke bron ligt voor ons. Aan de slag.


Graaf, A. de en Kunst, K. (2012) Einstein en de kunst van het zeilen: Praktijkboek over leiderschap en communicatie. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij SWP.

Kruf, J.P. (2020). My Word. Breda: Civitas Naturalis.