Eco-living ahead of its time
One of Netherlands'
The EVA-Lanxmeer project in Culemborg started in the early 1990s as a private initiative. The aim was to develop a sustainable and environmentally conscious society. EVA-Lanxmeer has now grown into a national and international example for sustainable urban planning, in which social and societal developments play a key role.
Energy and substance cycles are largely closed. By applying various forms of sustainable energy generation, combined with local, small-scale waste processing, it is possible to almost completely forgo the use of fossil fuels while retaining all the comforts.
One of the basic principles was that the quality of the built environment should contribute as much as possible to the well-being of the people who live and work there. Sustainable water and energy management are part of the urban plan, as well as optimal connection of landscape elements and architecture. In addition, inventarisation was performed of the existing qualities of the place that must be preserved and/or can be enhanced: the so-called Genius Loci.
An important aspect of EVA-Lanxmeer was the designing ‘meeting places’ and creating conditions for own initiatives of resident participation of future residents and users in the design and management of the neighbourhood. Most residents strongly feel that self-management increases the quality and diversity of the greenery in the neighbourhood. The joint activities enable casual encounters with other residents in the district, making this inclusive approach a success.
How did it start?
Top-down meets bottom-up
The basic idea was conceptualised and developed by Marleen Kaptein in the 1990s. Using her broad network of architects, experts and scientists, she set up a foundation to begin the project. Ambitions were very high from the start. Since resident behaviour was considered an integral part of the concept, a great deal of effort was put into generating support, both internally with the initiators, as externally with the authorities.
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years to build
solar PV panels