“This will become an example for the whole world”
Brainport Smart District, a new district of 1,000 houses adjacent to the Helmond Brandevoort. The idea arose a few years ago within the smart city cluster of Eindhoven University of Technology, but has now gained a strong foothold. Time for an update with Elphi Nelissen, Professor of Building Sustainability at the TU/e-faculty of Building. During the Smart City Conference that took place in Eindhoven at the end of September, she gave the latest insights, using a series of examples.
The project’s ambitions remain high. According to Nelissen, “Brainport Smart District will be completely different from anything else, and everyone who wants to come and live there will make an emphatic choice for this. With new processes around energy, health, mobility, and construction principles. In short, another way of living together. This will become an example for the whole world.”
New, smart insights and technology are being integrated into a sustainable, social and attractive living environment, the official papers say. Brainport Smart District is a living lab and an example for the development of new systems that can ultimately also help in the redevelopment of existing neighbourhoods. Smart District Brandevoort itself is not the sum of ‘loose’ smart city components, but a coherent and connected whole of transport, health, energy generation and energy storage. And another important point: residents must start to create a new form of society.
The city of the future, Brainport Smart District
“We not only want to preserve the planet, we also want to increase the human survival chances thereon”, explains Elphi Nelissen. “If we continue as we are now, we will be in serious trouble. We have to get out of the here and now, we have to go into the future, the entire planet has to. That’s why we want to create an example in Helmond.”
Currently, six themes have been identified that play an important role in the development and preparation of the next steps: participation & safety, health, data & infrastructure, mobility, energy, and building in an attractive environment. Each theme has its own project manager to ensure that the topic gets moving, for example through business cases and concrete plans. In December 2017, this should lead to the start of the actual development of Brainport Smart District.
The six projects are supported by examples. Whether it’s a covered street, autarkic homes, schools, community houses, or things like collective/private commissioning, an experience center or playful design, atmospheric images can always help. “So we have had them made, some on the basis of great examples from all over the world and others based more on our own creativity. Everything to ultimately be able to turn it into a neighbourhood that is as smart and liveable as possible inside and outside.”
In short: Brainport Smart District could look like this from 2020 onwards. But then again, in the meantime, countless better examples will probably come across.