Hieke Zoon

Portrait Hieke Zoon
This master has taught me more about different perspectives to sustainable problems and their complexity.
Hieke Zoon
Local Environmental Change and Sustainable Cities
Study start date
Previous education
Geography, Spatial Planning and Environment at Radboud University

Student Hieke Zoon is following the Master's programme Local Environmental Change and Sustainable Cities.

"I did the Geography, Spatial Planning and Environment bachelor's before. Because of my large interest in sustainability, I chose this master and I'm very happy that I did. The master's gave me the opportunity to develop my knowledge further. This master's has taught me more about different perspectives on sustainable problems and the complexity of those.

The atmosphere in the classes is always very open, both the teachers and my fellow students were approachable, open for questions or discussions and very easy to work with.

The most challenging aspect of this master’s for me is to always think about different perspectives when analysing a problem or case. This was different from what we did in the bachelor's, where we mostly took one perspective for a certain case or problem. Having to use multiple perspectives to look at something is something that I think is very valuable. Problems are very often connected and it is important to involve every side of that problem when searching for a solution.

I did a research internship for Arcadis, where I also wrote my thesis. My thesis is about alternative locations for solar panels. With the more mainstream locations like roofs and fields filling up quickly, there is a need for other places to implement these. We looked at the Dutch dikes as new locations, since there is a lot of unused space. This space could be used to generate energy for hundreds of households. However, in order to be able to use the dikes, there is more knowledge needed about safety, technology and public support. The last topic was leading in my thesis: as an organisation, you may want to implement solar panels in alternative spaces, with the (local) stakeholders and public against you it will get very difficult.

I 100% believe this master's is very important for solving some of the dilemmas we as a society are currently struggling with. The knowledge to be able to look at an issue from different perspectives is something that will be needed more and more. For me personally, I want to help transform cities into more sustainable and liveable places. Places where both the people living there and the natural world have the opportunity to flourish. I believe that a greener local environment adds to liveability and sustainability as well as benefits the wellbeing of people. Often problems are not as disconnected as we might expect and the same goes for solutions."