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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Shaping the urban future with sustainability at the core!

By Vinita Wagh
Illustrations/renders: Courtesy UNStudio
Read Time: 2 mins
"UNStudio BSD lanterns indiaartndesign"
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UNStudio blueprints the world’s ‘Smartest Neighbourhood’ in Helmond’s Brandevoort District in the Netherlands - a prototypical initiative that epitomises adaptable planning and future living.

This urban vision brings together UNStudio, Felixx Landscape Architects and Planners, Metabolic, Habidatum and UNSense, lending insights and expertise in areas of circularity, participation of (future) inhabitants, social cohesion and safety, health, data, new transport technologies and independent energy systems. Their synergies will see the next ten years create a sustainable spatial environment of 1500 new homes and 12 hectares of business premises across 155 hectares of land.

"UNStudio BSD masterplan indiaartndesign"
Aerial view of master plan
"Felixx landscape architects masterplan indiaartndesign"
Master plan
"Felixx landscape architects masterplan concept schemes indiaartndesign"
Master plan concept schemes


While the existing landscape encompasses forests, moors, villages and wetland areas, they function independently. However, they have the potential to be composed onto one single canvas – an integrated, collaborative and hybrid habitat that harnesses each strength.

"Felixx landscape architectsaxo strip high density indiaartndesign"
Axonometric of  high density strip
"Felixx landscape architects axo strip low density indiaartndesign"
Axonometric of  low density strip
"Felixx landscape architects axo urban structure landscape green indiaartndesign"
Axonometric of  urban structures
"UNStudio-axo-urban-structure-living-indiaartndesign"
Axonometric of  urban structures - living


Felixx proposes four spatial frameworks to compose them together – First, the ‘Mosaic Landscape’ that characterises the existing site and its potentials. Second, the ‘Productive Landscape’ that defines parcels of land and their role in the comprehensive system. Next, the ‘Social Landscape’ that fosters new partnerships and social networks within BSD. Lastly, the ‘Connected Landscape’ that structures the plots to act as ecological sites that also integrate recreational and temporal uses.

"Felixx landscape architects axo illustrative sections indiaartndesign"
Illustrative sections
"UNStudio BSD urban vision tech indiaartndesign"
Urban vision - technology


As such, the Brainport Smart District builds a symbiotic relationship between buildings and the landscape, a new productive ecosphere for food, energy, water, waste processing and biodiversity. At the heart is the central park around which is the mixed residential neighbourhood, surrounded by business spaces and natural reserves. Designed as a living lab, the development of BSD supports experimentation and ‘learning by doing’. The design and construction are simultaneous, aiming for the creation of a sustainable living concept.

"UNStudio BSD Sunday brunch indiaartndesign"
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"UNStudio BSD Helmond Autumn Harvest indiaartndesign"
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This flexible framework offers opportunity for growth and incremental density. Parcelled strip wise into 10 parts, the site acknowledges future economic and social flux, creating a diversity of living, working and leisure activities, to generate a local economy. Residents and businesses contribute to encourage communal resource schemes and innovative research. On the housing front, UNSense implements a data-driven approach on a test environment of 100 houses that researches the role of data in improving lives – an approach that can lead to alternate economic models that include cost savings for digital amenities.

In one bold move, the framework aims to find the right balance between pioneering solutions of different scales to establish ecological, social and economic feasibility, improve the efficacy of spaces and grant seamless connectivity.


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