Smart District as Next Level Neighbourhood

Door Olga Koltsova
Leestijd ± 1 minuut

Brainport Smart District reached out to the internationals living in the Brainport region asking them to share their views on what the Next Level Neighbourhood should look like. During the meeting, which was held on the 28th of November, internationals were encouraged to share their ideas about the housing that they would like to see in Smart District Brandevoort in the future and also to share their housing experience in the country of their origin. It is especially important for Brainport Smart District to know the opinions of internationals because, as it was pointed out in the meeting, “one can see the flaws of Dutch housing system better when it comes from outside of this system”.

During the discussion session, some expats mentioned that they have more needs than locals but they are more open to people and are able to contribute to the society. And the need of the housing is the most urgent one for people coming from abroad. How does an expat typically solve the housing problem? Would they rather rent or buy a house in the Smart District? As most of the expats who came to the meeting put it, it is not only ‘a house’ but home which they need to find in the new country. And “home” is a concept consisting of many components.

First of all, an expat’s home cannot be created in the neighborhoods where internationals are stamped as non-Dutch. Expats believe that in the neighbourhood ideal for home, people don’t close themselves in disconnected groups, so Next Level Neighborhood community should be all about interaction. Secondly, no matter how banal it sounds, a home is the place where people feel comfortable: it includes planning, the size of the living space, the quality of the materials used for the construction and much more. Most expats voiced their dissatisfaction with the level of comfort in typical housing available in Eindhoven region. Moreover, the aesthetics of the place which expats can call home is also of high importance. Internationals participating in the discussion session expressed the wish to customize the design of the houses in Smart District in order to create unique homes. However, as it was pointed out, sometimes the aspiration for uniqueness may result into ostentation and this might pose a problem of balance between uniqueness and healthy neighborhood standards and also a problem of ratio uniqueness-to-practicality.

Another important point which was discussed during the meeting was the expats’ vision on Smart District purpose. Expats proposed to enrich the Smart District concept with more emotional components. Why should people opt for Smart Districts? What might motivate them? People should realize that contributing to the smart cities development is contributing to the solution to the problem which the entire mankind is facing now – the problem of limited resources and rapidly growing population on Earth. Smart District should become a showcase of sustainable settlement.

At last but not least the Smart District posed a question: how can Smart District Brandevoort connect with more internationals? Where and how? More sessions for internationals will take place. Expats living in Eindhoven region are welcome to take part in the meetings and express their views on what the Next Level Neighborhood should look like. Meetings schedule and further information can be found on Brainport Smart District Brandevoort.