“Projects that apply to the district are judged based on their innovation level,” Mr. van Berkel said, adding that it is “a process that does not exist anywhere else in the Netherlands.”
Many of those projects, whether housing developments or products and services, have come through so-called business challenges, which invite companies and individuals from the Netherlands and abroad to present ideas. (In the three that were held before 2020, the foundation received over 200 applications, which led to 37 projects.) Among them is the 100 Homes project by UNSense, a sister company of UNStudio that is focused on technology.
This neighborhood of 100 homes, with dwellings designed to easily adapt to climate change and resident use, will be a testing ground for how data and technology can be used to impact the social and economic well-being of its residents.
Built into the infrastructure like the plumbing and electricity, neighborhood-wide smart technology (a network of sensors) will be grounded in a data platform hosting services related to living, mobility, food and health.
Ultimately, the planners believe that such data sharing can improve residents’ quality of life.
For example, energy and food consumption habits can be tracked, leading to adjustments in supply and disposable income savings, which can then be used for more enjoyable activities.
One of the ventures in the Brainport Smart District is the Forty Plot Project, which has asked 50 to 60 people from 40 households to jointly come up with housing concepts and a master plan, and then together to decide which projects would be developed and where.
“We are very free in what we develop, but it has to be done within the standards that the district has written down,” Mr. Moerkerk said. He is developing an apartment building with a shared garden and proposes other collective spaces like a shared guest room for visitors, with 13 other households.