The Parkstad Region in the South of the Netherlands is coping with a steady decline in population. At the same time, due to changes in the demographic structure part of the building stock has become obsolete with a decreasing demand of buildings and an increase in building vacancy. Secondly, a large part of the building stock is outdated with a large environmental footprint because of its low rate of energy efficiency. All together this leads to an extensive urban transformation encompassing the demolition of obsolete buildings; the transformation of non-residential buildings into residential properties and the deep-renovation of outdated housing to adapt the housing stock to the current societal needs (Urban plan Limburg). Within Parkstad region the focus will be on an ecosystem formed by 4 neighbourhoods forming the GMS district in Heerlen-North encompassing approximately 5000 inhabitants occupying 3272 housing units mainly dating from 1925-1950. 68% of de dwellings in the GMS district have energylabel D or lower and 14% of the households experience energy poverty, compared to an average of 8% in the Netherlands. This means that they spend more than 8% of their income on energy (Dutch Climate monitor).Therefore it is important that the energy efficiency of these houses will improve, in order to ensure affordable and secure energy in this district. In sum, the transformation of this district involves deep-renovation of about 120 social housing units as well as 364 privately owned housing units and the transformation of an estimated 6600m2 non-residential buildings.
The Dutch ecosystem links to three integrated transitions pathways: the transition towards a vital, circular and energy efficient neighbourhood. The Dutch ecosystem therefore aligns with the EU’s 2050 vision of ‘living well within the limits of our planet” and addresses the collateral environmental impact of a take-make-dispose economy and its serious threat to the natural, social and economic systems. The vision calls to an urgent shift towards a circular economy covering the energy transition, material circularity and urban vitality. The core stakeholders of the Dutch ecosystem are Zuyd (coordinator; expert in circular deep-renovation and vitality); DMO (digital tools); WEBO (local pop-up factory expert); and HIA (deep-renovation expert; dissemination expert). Because the BuildUpSpeed links to a running national initiative ‘City Deal program’ also the municipality of Heerlen, local active housing associations, City region of Parkstad Limburg, neighbourhood associations GMS and local SMEs will be involved.