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Architecture architecture General

The #sustainable 'district of the future' under construction

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by: Cindy Westland
the  sustainable  district of the future  under construction

Construction of the ‘District of the Future’ starts in Helmond (Netherlands)

The municipal council of Helmond unanimously approved the plans for the preparations for the construction of the District of the Future, also known as the Brainport Smart District (BSD). In the district, of which TU / e professor Elphi Nelissen is co-initiator, new insights and smart technology are being integrated into a sustainable, social and attractive neighborhood. The realization of the approximately 1500 new homes is planned from 2018 to 2028.
Blue sign with the town name Helmond
Brainport Smart District is a testing ground for tomorrow's society. Starting points for the neighborhood include the sharing of services, no use of natural gas, combining living and working, new energy concepts and a green attractive environment. In practice this means, for example, sustainable building, reuse of materials, mobility services instead of car ownership, electric cars as a starting point and local food conversion.

"Brainport Smart District is an example of a smart city that is not the sum of separate parts, but in which the (urban) building environment has been designed in conjunction with new technologies for transport, health, energy generation and storage and (circular) construction." That can be read in the so-called 'Inspiration book'. "The residents are part of a new form of inclusive society in which they themselves play an important role in the development of their own living environment. The district will become a real - life living lab (living lab) for the development of new systems, processes and services that find their applications in the redevelopment of existing neighborhoods in a way that does not burden, deplete or deplete our planet.The smart neighborhood will receive companies and residents from all over the world, it will create economic activity and strengthen the knowledge position of the region."
Green drawing of houses, plants and cars with on the background real houses
Photo: Brainport Smart District

Program lines

The development of the special district has been shaped on the basis of seven program lines:

Attractive Circular District

Sustainable development forms the basis for Brainport Smart District. It will be an attractive living environment where self - sufficiency, organic development, co - creation with end users, the cooperation of people with nature and their resources are combined with the technology of today and tomorrow. The transition from the 'linear economy' to the 'circular economy' is being shaped in fields such as building, energy, water, food and healthcare.


In the decision-making process, residents and companies decide through active participation on the creation and management of BSD. It concerns the application of processes to facilitate and maintain different layers of citizen involvement.

Social and Safe Neighborhood

The objective within the broad social domain is strengthening the socio-economic basis and realizing 'social increase'. The ambition is that all residents can participate, make ends meet and progress. Social cohesion also contributes to a neighborhood that is safe and where people feel safe.

Healthy Neighborhood

The ambition is that well-being and health are stimulated and on the other hand by helping each other and by creating a clean, green and attractive outdoor space that invites movement and meeting. The desired result is to arrive at a new and sustainable health care system with a focus on prevention by making use of technology and environment and by using it on a strong social basis.

Digital Neighborhood

The starting point is that all generated data and income and residents themselves are managed and shared. Interaction between the physical environment (the hardware) and the digital environment means that the distinction is eliminated and new opportunities arise to live together in the neighborhood. Systems and services are based on open standards in order to ensure interoperability.

Mobile District

New technologies such as automated vehicles and new organizational structures such as car & ride sharing offer opportunities to increase passenger comfort, reduce environmental impact and are also less expensive and more flexible. Mobility becomes a matter of course. Together with the residents, these concepts are explored and alternatives are developed for personal motorized transport and goods delivery.

District with Energy

Energy technology is developing at lightning speed. Designing a user - oriented energy system including a 'smarter - grid' approach is crucial for an adaptive energy system in time and technology. The abundant energy is used in BSD for free, accessible, renewable and reliable energy.

Control residents

Now that the city council of Helmond has approved the plans, preparations can be made for the construction of approximately 1500 new homes. Location of the district is the area north of the Brandevoort station in Helmond. Also 12 hectares of industrial estate will be developed. What is special is that future residents get a lot of say in the development and design of the neighborhood; everyone must be able to live in the district.

Elphi Nelissen, dean of the Faculty of Architecture and professor of Building Sustainability, was the initiator for the smart neighborhood in 2016: "Brainport Smart District must be an example for the rest of the Netherlands, Europe and the world, both in development and in realization." In addition to TU / e, the following partners are affiliated with BSD: Tilburg University, Enexis, Brainport Development, Helmond municipality, Eindhoven City Council and Province of North Brabant.


Earlier, a number of concrete things had already been set up within the framework of the Brainport Smart District. For example, sensors were placed on lampposts at six locations in Brandevoort. These sensors measure air quality (particulate matter) and noise. The municipality of Helmond is participating in this project to gain experience in collecting data on noise and air in the neighborhood. A healthy and clean environment plays an important role in the District of the Future. The measurement data can be followed live for everyone.

By: Kelly Bakker, Source: TU Eindhoven

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Financial spider in the web. WhatsOrb is a company with stakeholders and interests in the Netherlands and abroad. Cindy continuously monitors the administration of the company and addresses in-and external issues. It’s done with panache and great enthusiasm. Gardening is one of Cindy’s activities when having free time.
Financial spider in the web. WhatsOrb is a company with stakeholders and interests in the Netherlands and abroad. Cindy continuously monitors the administration of the company and addresses in-and external issues. It’s done with panache and great enthusiasm. Gardening is one of Cindy’s activities when having free time.
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