Short description

Transitioning post-war social housing towards self-sufficiency


Except has developed a sustainability vision for the post-war social housing area Schiebroek-Zuid in Rotterdam. The project provides a flexible and exemplary roadmap for converting the neighborhood into a self-sufficient and sustainable area. As a first of its kind, the Sustainable Schiebroek-Zuid project provides a template approach to converting a commonly problematic housing typology into a beautiful, equitable and resilient sustainable community. The neighborhood uses proven, common technologies in smart ways, in combination with ‘biological engines’ to provide the neighborhood with its own water, electricity, heat, waste processing and 70% of its own food production.

Material flows

  • Inputs

  • ->
    solar energy
  • ->
  • ->
    consumer goods
  • ->
    construction materials
  • ->
  • Outputs

  • clean water
  • filtered water
  • compost
  • others

Qualitative Analysis

Description of the Process

The plan combines socio-economic programs and proven technologies to create a closed-loop urban metabolism. All energy and water are locally provided and most wastes are handled on site. Local agriculture is the “biological engine” that drives many aspects of the plan, such as energy generation, nutrition, education, recreation, social programs, and local economic activities. Using a combination of biogas-fueled power plants, solar installations, and heat capture from rooftop greenhouses, the area can supply all of its required electricity and heat. Edible landscaping throughout the neighborhood can make use of previously empty lawns while meaningfully connecting residents to their natural surroundings. A key feature of the plan is that it renovates instead of demolishes most of the neighborhood's existing buildings, reducing both the social disruption and environmental impact typically caused by neighborhood renewals that begin with demolition.

Result of project

This project was commissioned by housing corporation Vestia and agricultural research network InnovatieNetwerk. Contractor Vestia will start with implementing a number of ingredients from the plan. Except hopes that this project will serve as an example for the numerous social housing areas with similar typologies worldwide.

Role of different stakeholders in the system during the realization and maintenance of the project

Except drew on its integrated sustainable development approach, Symbiosis in Development (SiD), to develop an extensive set of measures, or 'ingredients', which can be mixed and matched over time to achieve the end vision. These ingredients were designed in cooperation with stakeholders and residents. SiD facilitates and assures the integration of the many elements of sustainability in a co-operative framework.

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