16 December 2022 News

The self-sufficient city in five years

What role does sustainability play in the city of the future? What do new living environments look like? What new services and types of buildings can we expect? What will the system be for energy, mobility, food, clean water, nature, materials and living? In May 2022, in collaboration with Sweco, we called on designers to design a groundbreaking application for the self-sufficient city in five years. Floris Schoonderbeek tackled this in the field of Food, Bram de Vos in the field of Energy and Tjeerd Veenhoven in the field of Water. They presented these concepts during Dutch Design Week 2022 (DDW22). Curious about the conceptualists? Then read on!
Circle Farming – Floris Schoonderbeek (photo: about.today)

Circle farming

Floris Schoonderbeek worked on the concept of ‘circle farms’ and the sustainable use of residual space. Circle farms can contribute to a food chain transition in which consumer needs are better aligned with the ecological availability of (agricultural) production land.

Circle Farming is a form of agriculture in which scarce space can be better managed. No more the familiar rectangular patchwork blankets full of monoculture, but strips of different crops and fields in a circular shape. ‘The compass’, a smart implement makes this farming system economically feasible and workable. ‘A circular shape is not the most efficient shape,’ says Schoonderbeek, ‘but that is compensated by the precision work of the robot.’ Moreover, the spaces between the circles can be used for other purposes, such as housing and forestry. At the same time, within the city limits, the circular fields get closer to the residents and make it easier for them to participate. By adopting the principles of circular agriculture, it is sustainable for our planet and a viable scenario for our food needs.

Bram de Vos – (photo: Rogier Boogaard)

Material energy transition

With the increasing instability in the world, a big win is to find a way for the population to be self-sufficient in energy. This will create more independence, and everyone will have to deal with their own consequences. Can a country like the Netherlands become more energy independent in the future? Bram de Vos thinks so.

With his concept ‘The material energy transition’, he proposes a diversity of possible answers, based on the distance of the material to be extracted, required for the energy transition. His proposal shows a new combination of innovative and legacy systems, with a mix of recycle/upcycle for energy generation and storage.

The proposal is set in and around the recently acquired Wielewaal estate in Eindhoven. With a slightly provocative tone, it balances the pros and cons of using materials in the energy transition for the best results.

Tjeerd Veenhoven (photo: Rogier Boogaard)

Rainwater storage

Tjeerd Veenhoven developed a prototype of a 3D-printed hollow brick for facade panels. Its purpose? To capture excess rainwater to prevent local flooding. Once stored, the water is sucked up by the ceramic material over a period of three days and evaporated on the outside of the wall. The transition from liquid to vapour brings the cooling that is also so welcome in the hot summer months. This ceramic wall panel thus offers two solutions: storing rainwater during extreme showers and cooling the urban environment through evaporation. The panel can be used in new buildings as well as in the preservation of post-war neighbourhoods.