The hub consists of three studios, all based around a specific area with its own specific challenges in the transition towards a sustainable future.
Studio CID Den Haag
developing a sustainable city
The Central Innovation District (CID) in Den Haag is the area between the city’s three most important train stations; Den Haag Central, NOI and Holland Spoor. Because it is so easily reachable, it is a great place for businesses to settle. At the moment, however, both the building stock and general spatial organization is outdated – large empty buildings and outworn social housing form a problem and the public space is of varying quality. This is a problem as well as an opportunity to now redevelop more sustainably. The mission of the CID is do this in a completely circular way.
This interdisciplinary challenge asks for research on circular and sustainable development in the city as a metabolic system. Part of the question is how to develop in an inclusive and bottom-up way; starting from individual’s energy and existing local initiatives. Can we use roofs to produce food or grow natural materials and can we connect the area with the urban ecosystem of Den Haag? How do we connect people to together find use for temporarily empty spaces that make the area alive? Can innovations in public transport be integrated in the district, and how does that change its layout? How do we deal with waste streams in the area and what is the new function for the waste processing site?
tags: circular economy sustainable development, urban metabolism, architecture, system thinking, the city as ecosystem, energy, waste, transport
a landscape for innovation
The ‘Central Park’ of the Metropole Region is Midden-Delfland, a relatively large peatland area dotted with villages that is centered in between the bigger cities. The pressure on the landscape is high, as it is threatened by urban sprawl, cluttering, intensive livestock and infrastructure. Within the ambitions of the MRDH, however, a chance arises for the area to regain its significance and develop a strong and contemporary identity.
This results in a broad range of opportunities, all revolving around the relationship between a city and its hinterland. The smart integration of innovative technologies is needed to connect Midden-Delfland to the circular economy. Can we close the loops of material and nutrition flows? How to stimulate organic cultivation that respects or even reinforces local ecologies? And can we integrate this with recreational purposes, such as bike and water routes? How can we feed cities by local food supply chains and the integration of rural and urban farming? The actual technology is not far away now the province and universities see the region as a breeding ground for innovation, where field labs find a place to test new ideas about energy, residual heat, bio-waste and growing new types of crops. Now, in a variety of domains, the challenge awaits to establish the connections that can reposition the area in a 21st-century MRDH.
tags: inclusive farming, industrial ecology, ecosystems, food systems, sustainable production, energy landscape, recreation, social inclusivity
Studio Inner City Rotterdam
the city as a common
In cities the division between private and public space tends to be sharp; an increasing number of people live alone while crowded public spaces are not always ‘social’. They even can evoke feelings of anonymity and indifference. In the inner city of Rotterdam lie many opportunities for the shared use of spaces that are now too broad and empty or not yet possible to reach.
Throughout history there have been many examples of successful collective use of space, such as the commons. These shared pieces of land for collective exploitation had to be used in a balanced way to not become depleted, requiring specific spatial and social circumstances. Can we use this principle in the inner city of Rotterdam, and how do we translate its rules to a contemporary city? How do we organize neighborhood collectives around energy, the reuse of water or the collection of recyclable materials? How can we make a viable connection between the initiatives of enthusiastic individuals and the trail the municipality wants to blaze? Can we collectively make a city happier and healthier? The question for an inclusive city calls for an integral approach encompassing research, policy recommendations and thoughtful urban design.
tags: commons, collective space, collective living, corporations, public space. local initiatives, health and happiness in the city