The Utrecht Science Park was a desolate sight the past few months. (Photo: DUB)

USP residents lonelier than IBB'ers

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Students living in the Utrecht Science Park felt lonelier in the corona period until mid-June than residents of the Ina Boudier-Bakkerlaan (IBB) student complex. This was the conclusion of a study by three students of Human Geography and Spatial Planning.

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For the research that the three did for the honours programme of the Scientific Learning Research course, they questioned students from the Utrecht Science Park and the IBB in early June via an online survey. The three were curious whether students felt lonelier during the intelligent lockdown and what role their living situation played in this. During this time, the activities of study and student associations were practically at a standstill.

Online survey
In the online survey, Daan Tjoelker, Elizabeth Machkovska and Marte Vroom questioned, among other things, housing location, living situation, personality traits, social network, the neighbourhood, consequences of Covid-19 for their well-being and use of social media. The three students concluded that students generally do not feel lonely: the average score on loneliness, measured by 11 theses, turned out to be -0.68 (on a scale of -2 (not very lonely) to +2 (very lonely). 

However, it turned out that students living at the IBB complex score lower on loneliness than students at the Utrecht Science Park. According to the researchers, this is because students at the USP more often live in an independent unit. The conclusion is that living with housemates reduces feelings of loneliness.

The survey was completed by 156 people, 69 of whom live at the IBB and 87 at the USP. In addition, 48 respondents indicated that they live in an independent unit and 108 in a student house.

Desolated science park
In addition, the corona crisis made living in the Utrecht Science Park more difficult. Marte Vroom, one of the student researchers, lives at the USP herself. "As a result of the corona crisis, the buildings of Utrecht University and Utrecht University of Applied Sciences were closed for a time, as were the restaurants, cafés and the supermarket. It already wasn't the nicest place to live, but because of the outbreak of Covid-19 it had now become an unkind, deserted place.”

She thinks the University should show more interest in the residents. "The University also benefits if the Utrecht Science Park is a pleasant place. In my view, the corona crisis has shown that the focus at the USP is still on working and studying, while there are more than 2700 students living there now."

The researchers believe that more attention should be paid to the liveability of the Utrecht Science Park. They think it would be a good thing if students could make their voices heard in the current municipal discussion about the redevelopment of the area. On July 13 and July 14, the municipality is organising a meeting in which residents can participate in thinking about the future of the area.

 

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