Space-S: Creation of 400 new homes in co-creation with residents in Eindhoven

Eindhoven, Netherlands Local social sustainability
Responsible Housing Award
“Inverse decision making: residents design their living space before it is built”



Residents live in a home; however, the quality or perception of that home is defined to a large extent by the neighbourhood in which it stands. But what is a good neighbourhood exactly and how do you create one? This question was the starting point for the Space-S project, or Create Your Own Space-S. Space-S is part of a transformation development project of a former
Philips factory site where old factories are trans formed into lofts, shops or cultural venues. This area is named Strijp-S and is the city’s primary development area, with a very high residential concentration and a vibrant community.
Woonbe drijf is a social housing corporation, with over 30,000 homes in the Eindhoven region. Woonbe drijf, together with its tenants, its residents, provides tailor-made solutions. The first months of the project were dedicated to working on the DNA of Space-S together with residents. The DNA served as the basis for the development of the spatial and social evolution.

Issues tackled

The objective of Woonbe drijf is to involve residents in the physical development of the building and the homes. The so-called ‘Space-S’ is the focus of the co-creation project. In
the planning process, they addressed the questions: How should we live together, what should we share? Woonbe drijf does not
choose the residents, the residents choose each other! Space -S is a place where residents not only live, but where they can also work, relax and meet, which is green but urban. Clarity with regards planning and living costs is key; but Space -S also wants to offer the flexibility to residents to give shape to their own community and home.
The DNA of Space-S is the interface between:
▶ Green – Urban
▶ Together – Self
▶ Flexibility – Framework

The project objectives included:

  • To deliver over 400 homes within an area of 0.8 ha for regular housing and for student accommodation.
  • To renovate the design and development in co-creation with residents.
  • To build a sustainable and future-proof community.
  • To have completed all homes within four years after commencing the process, for a pre-determined amount.
  • To provide housing for residents which encourages involvement in their local community

Actors involved

  • Woonbe drijf - social housing corporation
  • Future tenants
  • Students


Tools used:

  • Offline-labs for 10 to 100 people, to tackle new topics creatively;
  • Meetings every 2 to 3 months in which decisions are made concerning all matters that have taken place over the last period;
  • Excursions to visit reference projects;
  • Workshops to bring experts together for further learning;
  • Resident-judged competitions for the design of a component (e.g. the main entrance) names and photos;
  • To-scale polystyrene models of buildings displayed during the preliminary-design stage;
  • Graduate research projects: evaluate and inspire;
  • Living room: monthly evening, by residents for residents, with the aim of getting to know your neighbours (well) before moving in;
  • On-line tools included a website with all information about the project. From how to register, to the technical details
    of the homes, Facebook for reaching out to all involved, but also for sharing information for third parties; Twitter + Instagram

Why it works

The use of the co-creation on a large scale, in new build rental social housing is not common in the Netherlands and is an innovative feature of this project. Woonbe drijf strongly believes that a lot can be learned from residents concerning new construction. With this large experiment, Woonbedrijf has learned what is important and what is
less important for the group involved. Their heard from resident about their views on what a good home is in this day and age and what sustainability measures they consider important.
To find residents and communicate with them, innovation is required as this is different to the usual approach. In the event of disputes or business agreements, the formal roles of tenant and landlord and developer are of course maintained, but this is only a small part of the relationship.

The projects is innovative not technically but in terms of the process. The approach used has inspired other projects in the Netherlands. Together with residents, several presentations have been given every month. And Space-S has won the Vanenburg Award for the most customer-driven process of corporations in the Netherlands.
A large work method book describing these working methods has been created; A kind of reference guide and aid for new projects.




More information

Location: Wal 2, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Number of dwellings managed by the organization: 32.000