B.1. Understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development:
During the 18 years I worked for Ahold I learned a lot about all the processes that are important in finding new locations for a shop, or in transformation of housing to shopping and vice versa. Almost every 3 years I changed jobs within Ahold; from real estate to operational business, to new concept development, marketing and finance. Because in the Netherlands the policy always has been to keep supermarkets close to the inhabitants a lot of creativity was needed to plan new shopping centers or supermarkets in our crowded country. New ideas on cityplanning and good communication with all parties involved were needed. A lot of my current work is commissioned by governments in a region, where the number of inhabitants is declining. Here other problems are getting visible. Not every city can offer anymore the same facilities as before. On top of this are the changing needs of the citizens. The citizens make other choices than they used to do, the environmental factors are becoming more and more important. In order to keep the main citycenter interesting for everyone in the community, the government has to make choices, that are not always obvious and easy. We help them to make those choices and also to communicate the choices made. In the following phase of project management we support all parties in the implementation and execution of the proposed actions.
1: The applicant demonstrates more than 2 years of experience with integrated and sustainable urban development, especially in relation to the development of a strategic vision on retail by urban authorities and relevant stakeholders. Beside her experience within Ahold, the applicant has 10+ years of experience as director of Broekhuis Rijs Advisering in the provision of consultancy services in the fields of distribution planning, spatial economic advice and vision development in commercial real estate.
B.2. Understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level:
The Ahold Company is an international company, with shops in many European countries, the USA and Southeast Asia. During my time at the company they were extending, and the language became more and more English. Especially when they started in the USA, we had many meetings through the phone. The professionalization of the company brought a lot of English terms and working conditions to us. New methods were introduced and spread throughout the company. Already in my first years at Ahold I was sent to some countries to see if some companies were interesting enough to incorporate; reports about locations and economic possibilities were some of the items to investigate. Later on, I went to Czechoslovakia to talk with people from Jihlava to find out what were important factors in this country for urban planning and retail in general. During my job as private label manager at Ahold I did the central buying of one of the brands of Albert Heijn (the Dutch supermarket) at AMS (Associated Marketing Services) in Switzerland. This AMS was a cooperation of different supermarkets in Europe, like Carrefour, Mercadona, ICA, Edeka, Safeway and Kesko. The spoken language was English. Every product was (and is) identical in every country. Especially the way to find the right ingredients for a product, that suits every country were interesting sessions. Not only the learning about the cultural differences but also the negotiations about the products made this job special.
1: The applicant provides one significant transnational activity that demonstrates her understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level (e.g. many years of international experience within the Ahold company).
B.3. Proficiency in English:
During my master in Geography I was for six months in the USA; of course I spoke English all the time. All the years at Ahold I have been speaking a lot of English, sometimes not very much but in a different job all the time (see B2). The main working-area at this moment is the Netherlands with Dutch-speaking clients. Nevertheless a lot of the professional information is written in English.
1: The applicant demonstrates proficiency in English (e.g. experience in the USA and using English as the main working language for many years).
Theme / Policy:
Urban Strategic Planning
D.1. Deep knowledge on the selected theme and related policy challenges, including up to date practice, research, etc.:
Strategic vision on retail for a specific city or community. The current structures of the retail in the city are described and analysed; on the basis of new information (from research, papers) the future position will be figured out. This includes retail, but also other factors like parking-situation, accessibility, food & beverages and consumer trends. This can be done in cooperation with shopkeepers, real estate owners etc. or just with the government. Then actionplans can be made. Examples of these theme are for instance in the community of Smallingerland (city of Drachten) and Beilen.
1: The applicant demonstrates more than two years of experience in having deep knowledge on the selected theme and related policy challenges, including up to date practice (e.g. Province of Drenthe, Province of Groningen, Beilen). In addition, the applicant has 10+ years of experience as director of Broekhuis Rijs Advisering in the provision of consultancy services in the fields of distribution planning, spatial economic advice and vision development in commercial real estate. However, the applicant does not provide enough evidence in order to demonstrate her up to date research in relation to urban strategic planning.
D.2. Ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process of in projects in which you have been involved:
In the eastern part of the province of Groningen we started a project – commissioned by the province – to stimulate the cooperation of four cities for retail. These cities lay close together, with more or less the same problems. They are cities ‘in between’; de city of Groningen is the great capital, these 4 are the next in inhabitants, all other cities are much smaller. They learn a lot from each other. Together we made a ‘picture’ of the region. A starting point for many projects to make the city more interesting is to get the shop-owners and keepers into action, first on a small base. We developed a measure to see how well they presented their store, how they are visible on the internet. After the presentation of these figures, many started to improve their shops.
1: The applicant provides only one relevant example that demonstrate her ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process of in projects in which she has been involved (e.g. producing thematic inputs to feed in the learning process of 4 cities on retail issues). However, the applicant's overall experience would suggest that she has such an ability.
D.3. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange & learning activities, put forward good practice:
One of the examples has to do with the province of Drenthe. In 2015 our minister for Economics started a National Retailagenda. This has been followed by some provinces to create their own Retail-agenda, so did Drenthe. We have been talking to all involved communities in Drenthe, and we had arranged some special meetings with policy-makers at the province. In a working session the situation on the retail in Drenthe became clear, and all problems and questions could be addressed. The understanding and awareness of the retail issues got a much broader support. The second example comes from the city of Groningen. This University-city and capital of a province wants to be the main shopping city in the Northern part of the Netherlands. They have this position for years, but they want to keep it that way. They want to know what is going on in the mindset of consumers, so they can take actions on time. That is why they asked to monitor the consumer behaviour every quarter of a year. We do research on the street, analyse the outcomes, and after a year the results are being discussed with the policymakers.
0: The applicant does not provide two examples that demonstrate her ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange and learning activities, put forward good practice and policy messages targeting city practitioners and urban policy-makers (for participants as well as for an external audience). Her response is too generic and is not indicative of her ability to produce concise reports. The CV is not sufficiently informative either.
D.4. Understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design, awarenes:
In one of the cities (Winschoten) of Groningen we have made specific regulations to stimulate the transformation and replacement of shops. This is mainly by moving from the outside of the core retail area to the inside. This is one of the ways to make the citycenter more compact. Sometimes it is needed to redevelop a complete street or center; it prevents fragmentation of the shoppingarea.
1: The applicant provides one partially relevant example that demonstrates her understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for strategic benefits in capitalization, policy design and awareness raising (e.g. policy design within the province of Winschoten in Groningen). However, the applicant's overall experience as a consultant would suggest that she possesses an ability to maximise the use of project results.
Summary Thematic expertise:
Every city and every situation is different. Depending on the specific questions we try to find the right way to tackle the problems. After the economic recession and the upcoming of the buying by internet the landscape of retail has changed dramatically. Many cities need to make their shopping areas more compact, in order to reduce the empty spaces. We do a lot of work in the periphery of the country, where there is an extra challenge because of the population decline. The first phase is making all involved parties (policy makers, shop owners, shopkeepers, leisure section) aware of the problem. And it is not only a problem of the retail; more than before the city center should be the right combination of retail, living, leisure, culture etc. Consumers want to shop in a pleasant atmosphere; otherwise they can stay at home to buy on the internet or they choose another shopping area. With a clear vision and strategy on which choices a specific city has to make in order to keep the city attractive, it is time to make those plans and instruments that best fit for that specific city. We believe in good cooperation between involved parties; the understanding and support of the projects will speed up the whole process of keeping the city interesting for the next decade.
The applicant is validated for D "Urban strategic planning", meeting 3 out of 4 criteria. The main expertise of Mrs. Rijs-Schuring is in the fields of distribution planning and the development of a strategic vision of the retail sector in the cities. However, it is important to note that her main professional experience in gained in the Netherlands and that she has rather limited international experience. No significant inconsistencies have been identified between the CV and application.
Dutch - Mother tongue