Different Approach to Housing

With the Open Call Different Approach to Housing, we are enabling designers to work on an integral approach to current and future housing issues in collaboration with government bodies, organizations, experts and civilians.

The call responds to the Netherlands’ complex housing challenge. How can this challenge be tackled in terms of sustainability, inclusivity and based on current and future housing needs? The call focuses on projects that develop innovative perspectives, strategies and solutions at different levels for the housing needs in the Netherlands, based on research by design. In the open call, three themes were formulated which the proposals could link up with:

- different houses;
- different districts;
- different systems.

Find more information about the open call here
Please note: the open call is closed. Proposals could be submitted up to 28 March 2022.


Opportunities for the Community Land Trust model in the Netherlands | And The People

And The People, together with Space & Matter, is focusing on further shaping the Dutch Community Land Trust (CLT) movement. Community Land Trusts are open membership organizations which use an alternative development model that represents the interests of residents, the neighbourhood and the public interest. The Dutch approach has set circularity as the guiding principle in order to promote both affordability and sustainability. In doing so, the model offers a possible problem-solving approach for the sustainability and transformation of neighbourhoods and cities. And The People and Space & Matter want to further shape the CLT movement by engaging with stakeholders from different domains and by elaborating the model for a few locations. Together with partners and interested parties, they are mapping out opportunities and specific locations for CLT developments in the Netherlands. This research should lead to a clearer proposition and positioning of CLT in the Netherlands, network development, an opportunity map and knowledge development. The project collaborates with TU Delft, University of Amsterdam, CLT Brussels, LSA Bewoners [National Association of Active Resident Groups], CLT H-Buurt [Community Land Trust H Neighbourhood], Common City, Heijmans / BPD, Waag and the Amsterdam Municipality. The project has a kick-off and closing meeting, the latter of which is to be organized in collaboration with Waag, to present the research by design results.


Building on a Healthy Lifestyle | VenhoevenCS

VenhoevenCS’s research by design is focusing not only on the current pressure in the housing market, but also on creating a health-enhancing housing and living environment. For VenhoevenCS, the housing environment is the basis for good health and thus offers a great opportunity for preventing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and depression. Half of these diseases can be attributed to an unhealthy lifestyle, according to research. The purpose of the research is threefold: 1) to demonstrate the importance of health-enhancing design from literature research, 2) to establish a toolbox for a health-enhancing environment, and 3) to provide insight into the health effects of design. The future perspective is to work towards new systems where the promotion of health in the housing environment is the standard. In this way, VenhoevenCS wants to prevent the current housing challenge from being solved only quantitatively: ‘By going for quality, we can achieve sustainable, future-oriented housing construction that fits the needs and demands of our time.’ The project collaborates with Erasmus MC and Amsterdam UMC.


De Ceuvel 3.0, The Regenerative Society of the Future in the Circular District of Amsterdam Noord | Metabolic Partners B.V.

The initiators want to further develop the temporary circular incubator De Ceuvel into a permanent regenerative district that forever guarantees sustainable and affordable housing. To this end, De Ceuvel 3.0 wants to establish a local Community Land Trust: an entity that creates the frameworks within which living and working come together, recreation is given a place, nature is preserved and restored, and with the area’s stakeholders making the decisions. The CLT association is given the responsibility of democratically developing the neighbourhood within the bounds of the ‘urban donut’ – a model for circular and integrated area development based on Kate Raworth’s Donut Economy. A material flow and impact analysis should determine the priorities of the design in order to steer any impact. In addition, research is to be conducted into the social fabric of the surrounding neighbourhood(s) and the needs of local makers and residents will be identified in order to create a rich place for all. In the project’s final phase, collaborating with Common City Development, Amsterdam Noord, De Ceuvel Association and Space & Matter, among others, a final design for the area will be developed based on all insights and participants will be sought to participate in establishing CLT Noord.


In plak ûnder de sinne | NOHNIK

For NOHNIK, the housing challenge is about building residences that contribute to close-knit communities, a good quality of life and high spatial quality and that offer prospects for diverse target groups. In ‘In plak ûnder de sinne’, this challenge is to be researched for the province of Friesland. Research by design will be used to develop, on the one hand, a broad range of solutions and, on the other hand, as a means to encourage local residents to get involved in the process. The research challenge focuses on the Frisian villages and countryside where the challenge is multifaceted and complex. The project will use innovative housing concepts, to provide an answer to the many-headed Frisian housing challenge, that fit the DNA and the capacity of a village, place and community, and that take account of the sustainability of the housing stock and a climate-adaptive housing environment. After a kick-off – an analysis of the region and analyses of the three selected villages – the project will work towards a living environment toolbox. This toolbox will then be used to create a sample implementation for each of the three villages. The results of the research, working in collaboration with the province of Friesland, the Súdwest-Fryslân Municipality and Dorps Ontwikkelings Maatschappij Friesland [Friesland Village Development Corporation], will be shared in a publication.


The Soft Map of Oostenburg, Living Together in Practice in an Urban Area | Urhahn Urban Design B.V.

Developing an urban area takes at least ten years, and it takes an additional decade for a neighbourhood to become truly rooted. Therefore, finding out whether the ideas underlying a new neighbourhood will actually work for the residents who eventually find a home there, is not self-evident. Urhahn Urban Design wants to follow closely the emergence of Oostenburg, an urban district it has been working on since 2011, for five years to find out whether the design principles it developed during the planning process work in practice. Two questions are central: 1) how does Oostenburg’s spatial design contribute to creating a sense of home and neighbourhood relationships? and 2) how can we learn lessons from ‘the lived city’ for those city districts now on the drawing board? In its research, it will look at Oostenburg’s development from four different perspectives: place, people and social networks, rituals and traditions, and organization. The entire study will be carried out in co-creation with local residents as experts on living in Oostenburg, and in collaboration with the Amsterdam Municipality, Stadgenoot, Vorm and Stichting Over de Brug. All individual resident inputs will ultimately be translated into a soft map: a graphic communal vision that makes the results accessible and easy to read. An evening will also be organized at Pakhuis de Zwijger, where designers and developers of similar neighbourhoods will be invited to contribute ideas.


Building on Water | PosadMaxwan

PosadMaxwan observes that building near water poses problems that existing construction and design methods are inadequate to address. At the same time, it sees that water also offers opportunities for other, sustainable and inclusive neighbourhoods and thus provides an integral solution to today’s quantitative housing challenge and the qualitative housing challenge in the long term. In its project, Building on Water, it therefore wants to further explore the idea of sustainable, floating urban development, building on the floating city it previously designed on the instructions of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) for Atelier Dordrecht. It strives for sustainable, (nature-) inclusive housing environments, where living and working mix, facilities are accessible on foot and by bike, and sustainable mobility and social cohesion are stimulated. In doing so, it deliberately looks at more than just housing, because building on water is now often simply limited to a home on the water. Two questions are central to the research: 1) what does an attractive, sustainable and inclusive floating city look like? and 2) what does it take to make floating cities a reality? The project’s goal, working in collaboration with the Utrecht Municipality, the Rotterdam Municipality, the water board Hoogheemraadschap De Stichtse Rijnlanden, Blue21, Buiting Advies, PAS bv and DutchLotus, is, on the one hand, to give advice to participating public partners on urbanization on water, and, on the other hand, to develop an inspirational book and a handbook, containing general design principles and preconditions that are relevant to this new form of urbanization.


Housing Flow: Accommodating Housing Cultures in Motion | Studio Stad

Studio Stad is exploring what a new flexible housing typology offers in terms of possibilities for the housing needs of today’s dynamic and international society. This, it says, requires a new perspective, where we do not build for the housing demand we know, but create space for what is still unknown. A housing culture database will be created using 3D scans of homes around the world. This will be the basis for developing prototypes of flexi homes, furniture and homeware. The prototypes will be produced 1:1 and will simulate an environment for testing, debating about and setting flex living on the agenda. By making this ‘experienceable’ in an installation, Studio Stad aims to contribute to a shift in perspective on the future of our cities and the way housing flows in them are secured, reinforce each other and expedite the sense of home, with the ultimate goal of developing a generous flexi home. In this project, Studio Stad will collaborate with the Jan van Eyck Academy, Stadvogels, AterlierNL, Viastory, RWTH Aachen and Bureau Europa, among others. The installation will be exhibited at the Limburg Gouvernement.


Designing a Safe Haven: Creating Space in Unaffordable Cities | Lukas Engelhardt

Designer Lukas Engelhardt is exploring squatting as a solution to the housing crisis. From a historical perspective, squatting is a proven tactic for combating speculation, vacancy and rising rents. Can it be a sustainable alternative to systems like anti-squatting? To make squatting more accessible and by getting it on the agenda, Engelhardt is focusing on elaborating three initiatives. The ‘Empty House Hotline’ invites people to anonymously report which properties are empty. The ‘House Peace – One Year Later’ exhibition invites artists to contribute to depicting the concept of ‘domestic peace’. The publication ‘Gaat Kraken Door’ [Squatting Goes On], besides offering practical information, aims to answer the question of how intersectionality and permanence play a role in squatting. Lukas Engelhardt’s collaborations within the project include squatters, We Are Still Here, Amsterdam Alternative, Bij1 Amsterdam, het Woonprotest [the Housing Protest] and Verdedig Noord [Defend North]. The hotline website will be festively launched, the exhibition will be shared through existing social media channels, and the publication will be available for purchase at cultural institutions.


Need for Space? | Atelier van Berlo

Atelier van Berlo notes that over-55s have a lot of living space per person and little incentive to move, whilst moving could free up houses and would offer opportunities to make these current homes and neighbourhoods more sustainable. In order to set the relocation chain in motion, it wants to identify what the wishes of this group of residents are and how a different housing concept could become attractive to them. By means of qualitative research, such as interviews, it maps the housing needs of these ‘empty nesters’. This will be carried out in a yet to be determined neighbourhood in Rotterdam, together with partners Stichting Ouderenhuisvesting Rotterdam [Accommodation for Older People Rotterdam Foundation] and Metabolic, and will seek to link up with the municipality’s Langer Thuis [Longer At Home] agreement. Through research by design, with the residents themselves always remaining the starting point, the housing needs will be translated into a spatial housing requirement programme for the over-55s. In addition, a design manual will be created which will make the study repeatable at other sites. The process will be recorded and presented on a website, during an inspiration evening and through a podcast series in which experts and stakeholders can have their say.


Living Lab Boerhaavewijk: a New Look at the Post-war Neighbourhood | AP+E and Studio dmau

According to AP+E and Studio dmau, the Boerhaavewijk district in Haarlem, built in the 1960s and 1970s, is facing a large number of challenges, such as improving and making the existing houses more sustainable, greening the public space, densification and tackling complex social problems. The proposal builds on existing research by AP+E in the neighbourhood by establishing a Living Lab in the community centre. From this presence, an iterative process of observation, research by design and dialogue will take shape in and with the neighbourhood, and the ambitions and desires of residents will be depicted, in consultation with the city architect, the municipality, housing corporations and other local parties like school boards and healthcare institutions. On that basis and within the Haarlem Municipality’s Environmental Strategy, scenarios will be developed for transforming Boerhaavewijk into a sustainable and inclusive neighbourhood. This will make it possible to map out and connect the many challenges and ambitions in the district as a whole. The knowledge gained will be compiled in a publication and shared with a wider network, including during a symposium at ABC Haarlem.


Crossing Borders – by Approaching Housing Differently | VOIDS Urbanism

VOIDS Urbanism argues that space in the city is becoming increasingly scarce and is forcing us to densify inner-city areas. In its view, in the coming decades the housing challenge will lead to a large-scale transformation of business premises into residential areas in the city. Together with Belgium-based Endeavour, it focuses, by means of research by design, on how the housing challenge in these areas can act as a catalyst to create resilient residential and work areas. It will do this by carrying out comparative research by design into the urban renewal of Rotterdam’s Keilekwartier and that of Antwerp’s Stadshaven. The Keilekwartier will explicitly be used as a case study. The Stadshaven will then be used to reflect on this. With the help of a best-practice study and expert and parallel sessions, a repeatable methodology for policy makers and developing parties will be formulated to achieve rich mixed-use areas. Partners include the Rotterdam Municipality, BPD Zuidwest, the Keilecollectief and Stadsform Antwerpen. A public programme will be set up with numerous local, national and international partners at meetings in Pakhuis De Zwijger and Stadsform.


WIJ | De Bever Architecten

In a vacant office of bus manufacturer VDL in Eindhoven, De Bever Architecten and eenbeweging.nu, together with future residents, are creating an inclusive living, working and learning community. They are looking at how a system can be designed that allows people to build not only affordable houses together, but also an inclusive community, on an equal footing and as sustainably as possible. In this way, they are aiming to develop a simple, reusable, modular, prefabricated system that anyone can assemble in existing buildings. The community determines how the building and its surroundings are arranged and decorated. The target group consists of people seeking a house who currently fall between the cracks: the homeless, young people, expats with a small budget and other people looking for urgent accommodation. These people will become involved through the extensive network of eenbeweging.nu, which includes representatives of Springplank040, Switch Jeugdzorg, Holland Expat Center, Sint Trudo and Woonbedrijf [Housing Corporation]. The results include a modular building system, insight into how the system fits into the VDL building and the beginnings of the intended community.


Residential Landscapes; Living Combined with Environmental Development | Studio Marco Vermeulen

Studio Marco Vermeulen is investigating the potential of ‘residential landscapes’ where nature-inclusive housing construction is used as a lever for developing nature and the landscape. Houses and residential districts that are not built in, but rather as an intrinsic part of the landscape. Is it possible to design a ‘residential landscape’ with affordable housing that provides a healthier, more sustainable and more social environment? Studio Marco Vermeulen is exploring examples of homes and neighbourhoods that blend into their surroundings. Using this, the team will define categories and collate housing and landscape types. The research by design will then focus on developing spatial typologies of ‘residential landscapes’ in which the interweaving of the landscape and the built-up area varies. Together with experts in the fields of ecology, architecture and finance, the team will look further into the researched principles and present and test the first models. For two specific locations in Rotterdam and Eindhoven, the applicant will develop design proposals for a ‘residential landscape’ in cooperation with the landowners, municipalities and provinces. A final publication will compile the results of the research by design.


Learning from … Germany | Marieke Kums

Marieke Kums (STUDIO MAKS) is investigating how the housing cooperative model could develop as a mainstream housing alternative in the Netherlands. Despite the potential of this form of housing, its concrete application in the Netherlands is only just getting off the ground. Legal and financial obstacles play an important role in this. This is in contrast to Germany, where thirty per cent of the housing stock is cooperative. Marieke Kums is analyzing the state of affairs in the Netherlands and will provide an overview of the factors that stand in the way of the housing cooperative model. She will then study twelve successful German examples by means of data research, interviews with those involved and site visits. The results will be elaborated in a comparative diagram with key factors that she will translate to the Dutch context. The knowledge acquired will then be applied to two specific locations in Nijmegen and Tilburg, by elaborating draft designs for two housing cooperatives in collaboration with municipalities. She is also cooperating with parties like Bundesverband Baugemeinschaften, Superuse, Platform31, Cooplink, Vrijcoop, Ecodorp Boekel and Woningbouwcorporatie Talis. The results will be included in a digital publication and an animation.


Neighbourhood Fabrication | Dividual

Dividual is investigating which design strategies enable the successful transformation of work locations into a mixed residential/work area with innovative housing typologies. The focus lies on using a prefabricated wooden building system in order to overcome the most common obstacles to such transformation processes and to contribute to a more circular and sustainable construction sector. The research will start by quantitatively mapping potential locations in the Netherlands and analyzing the scope of the building system’s technical applications. Subsequently, in an iterative process, Dividual will develop a collection of urban planning and architectural strategies for the transformation of specific locations in the Netherlands into residential-work areas. The team will investigate three development profiles at three different industrial sites: a housing cooperative form, an exciting residential-work environment and flex living. During the process, Dividual will work closely with local stakeholders, Sustainer Homes and Respace and will bring in experts in the field of flexible living, mixed-use areas, sustainable area transformation and cooperative housing construction. The research results will be shared in a publication via the project partners. Dividual will also present its findings during the annual Urban Transformation congress and the Stadmakers congress.


Spatial Design Action Programme
The Open Call Different Approach to Housing is part of the Spatial Design Action Programme 2021-2024, an incentive programme aimed at strengthening the engagement of spatial design in tackling these challenges and stimulating an integral approach. For four years, the Fund will be an important implementing partner of this programme, an initiative of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

Image: Richard Proudley