It is a relocation of just 500 meters, but with the necessary impact for the circular initiative Plug-In-City. In 2014, with the cooperation of Sint Trudo, a temporary ‘city’ of sea containers was realized at Strijp-S. At the beginning of 2018, Plug-In-City will make way for new building developments and will move the project to Ketelhuisplein; it will be able to stay at this location for 4 to 5 years.

Plug-In-City is the circular, temporary location for a collective of creative professionals such as architects, designers, and other Eindhoven-based makers. “The bottom-up initiative is a place for co-creation, inspiration, and connection and Plug-In-City 2.0 will be an even more vibrant and inspiring pop-up city within the city”, says co-initiator Bas Luiting.

The basic structure of Plug-In-City consists of a grid of 24 sea containers, stacked in two layers with a collective roof on top of it. Walkways connect the containers to the top layer. Workshops for creative businesses are being developed in the containers. In collective atriums, there is also a machine shop, a flex office, a workshop space and a large event room with a bar and a stage. A path will be constructed through the village and visitors can look inside. Luiting:”The design shows the public how to reuse materials.”

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Plug-In-City is modular and circular and is thus composed of (reusable) materials, so the value is preserved and materials can later be given a new function elsewhere. The public spaces are made wind and waterproof with reused (glass) facades. Local green electricity is the source of all the energy needed. But not everything has been arranged yet. Luiting: “The technical installations are still a challenge in this temporary city. Partners who offer innovations in the field of energy, or want to try out new circular products or services, are invited to place test rigs and use Plug-In-City as a living lab to create value for everyone.”

But Plug-In-City is not only looking for technical partners. “Companies, organizations, students and government institutions can become part of this project by loaning out services, materials and product-service combinations. Roofing, fencing, hoisting cranes for transporting containers and financial and legal (real estate) expertise are among other things required.”

In November, Plug-In-City received the ABN-Amro Circular Economy Award as the most circular working location in the Netherlands. The jury, consisting of representatives of Fontys, Urgenda, TNO and Metabolic among others, appreciated the way in which Plug-In-City is a temporary circular location, the way of co-creation and collaboration, without major investors and subsidies.

Illustrations (c) Bygg Architects

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of