LEVENSKRACHT

A life beyond street prostitution

Service design for drug-addicted street prostitutes

 

In co-operation with the City of Eindhoven, we were a group of service design students from KISD to develop Levenskracht – a service that improves the living situation of street prostitutes. The service was successfully implemented, and it created measurable value for the City of Eindhoven.

 

Background

 

Between the years 2000 and  2009, the City of Eindhoven spent 500,000 Euro of tax money per year for the so called Tippelzone, a legitimate area in Eindhoven where drug-addicted street prostitutes could ply their trade. The priority goal of this project was to find an alternative solution to this very controversial outlay of public money and, at the same time, improve the living conditions of the women. The challenge was to create a concept for the women without falling back into the problems that existed before the city established the Tippelzone in 2000. Until 2000, prostitution had taken place in an inner-city area of Eindhoven and it brought dealers, pimps and criminals to that area, making for a very difficult environment. This problem was solved by the Tippelzone. This project was supposed to go beyond the  improvement that it delivered. The target group was street prostitutes in Eindhoven, yet the needs and beliefs of the entire neighbourhood, the care system  and the politicians had to be considered. Until the year 2000, the prostitution had taken place in a city area of Eindhoven and it brought dealers, pimps and criminals to that area – it became a very difficult environment, dangerous and unattractive for many of Eindhoven’s citizens. This problem was solved by the Tippelzone initiative. The street prostitution was moved to the outskirts of the city, a shipping container – run by The Salvation Army – providing some shelter and basic hygiene was set up and a security service made sure that the aggression against the women was controlled. This solution cost 500,000 Euro of tax money per year, a fact that caused conflict. Against this background, the service design project was set up.

The objectives were to solve the city’s financial problem of putting tax money into a partially illegal enterprise and to create better living conditions and free choice for the women. The overall mission of the project was to actively and collaboratively help the women to take more responsibility for their lives and to live a life without having to prostitute themselves any longer.

 

Levenskracht

 

Levenskracht is a innovative public service that focuses on the work with drug addicted women in street prostitution regarding health, education, independence and relation- ships. Levenskracht has been developed in a Service Design project, where designers collaborated with addicted women, caretakers, politicians and industry as well as specialists like social workers and psychologists from other cities. The overall mission of Levenskracht is to actively and collaboratively help the women to take more responsibility for their life and to live a life without having to prostitute themselves.

Some basic principals of Service Design have been applied to the concept of Levenskracht: The service organization of Levenskracht builds on existing structures. It creates a formalized network between the help organizations of Eindhoven and integrates their services »one face to the customer« – so the women have one person in charge for the development process. This will synchronize and intensify the services and make the system more useful and usable to the women.

Levenskracht takes a holistic approach. The system around street prostitution has to be changed – not only the women have to change. Levenskracht integrates the public, politics and industries as well as pimps, clients and caretakers in the development of awareness and of sustainable solutions.

 

Levenskracht takes a long term perspective on the situation of the women – it takes into consideration that the process of change takes time, there will be need for long term support, fallback security and help available. So the service offerings of Levenskracht are designed to be useful and usable in different life situations, depending on the amount of change that had been possible.

Levenskracht is aware that there is not the »one« solution – the women are individuals with individual capabilities and needs. The offerings ofLevenskracht take these individual needs and abilities into consideration and try to customize the offer- ings. There will be continuous evaluation of the success of Lev- enskracht in order to find out which approaches and offerings work and where improvements and innovations have to be developed. The development and the delivery of Levenskracht services is done in Co-Creation with the women – they will be part of the service delivery system. The concept of Levenskracht puts the focus on shared responsibility, where the women are not »served« by social services, but work together with them.

Methodology and approach

 

System analysis: Collecting as much insight as possible about the system using ethnographic research tools and service design specific tools.

System visualisation: highlighting the patterns, tensions, contradictions within the system and  the key issues that stabilise the system.
Translating these key issues into opportunities. Creation sessions: building ideas for change. The service designers collaborated with addicted women, caretakers, politicians and industry, as well as specialists like social workers and psychologists from other cities.

 

Result

 

System analysis: Collecting as much insight as possible about the system using ethnographic research tools and service design specific tools.
System visualisation: highlighting the patterns, tensions, contradictions within the system and  the key issues that stabilise the system.
Translating these key issues into opportunities. Creation sessions: building ideas for change. The service designers collaborated with addicted women, caretakers, politicians and industry, as well as specialists like social workers and psychologists from other cities.

 

Conclusion

 

In 2010 Levenskracht started to work with a pilot group of women in order to test and improve the concept and analyse the impact and the financial aspects. In 2011, Levenskracht replaced the Tippelzone.

 

My role in the team

 

The group was split into three teams. I was part of the research team to research the current worldwide solutions and was part of the second research team sent to Eindhoven. I conducted and documented interviews with prostitutes and current caretakers.

I was part of the analysing team and documented the findings, analysed the current social structure and designed the basic service line touch-points. 

 

The team

 

Prof. Birgit Mager | Students: Bak, Johanna | Choi, William | Drinjakovic-Schlichtmann, Alexander | Durrenberger, Alija | Flemm, Niels | Hartzheim, Johanna| Kramer, Fionn Patrick | Lang, Paul | Lau, Ola | Leistenschneider, Anna Katharina | Oluoch, Mathilda | Schmidt-Soltau, Fee | Schmith, Marina | Schnell, Falko | Schwenk, Sylvia | Serfaty, Aviya | Steinebach, Tanja | Wahrisch, Julia | Weisleder, Caren | Wolf, Alexandra | Wonner, Christian

Project partners: Köln International School of Design | City of Eindhoven | T+Huis Eindhoven

Duration: 8 weeks | Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands