Super Circular Estate - First Circular Social Housing Estate for 100% Material and Social Circularity

Submitted by UIA admin on mar, 12/19/2017 - 14:24


Gemeente Kerkrade
Kerkrade Super Circualr Estate project
Challenge addressed

The Super Circular Estate contributes to a sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient economy by creating high-quality, desirable urban environment and affordable housing opportunities based on breakthrough innovative material and social circular solutions. Europe’s first circular estate is based in a sustainable shrinkage area in Stadsregio Parkstad Limburg in the South of the Netherlands. In the next 30 years, the Parkstad Limburg region’s population will shrink by 27% due to population ageing and young people moving to urban agglomeration cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam. This implies that less housing accommodation will be demanded in the following decades. High-rise apartment buildings, which were mainly built in the 1960s when housing shortage was a primary issue, no longer satisfy requirements and inhabitants’ needs. Three vacant high-rise apartment buildings in the project-area in the City of Kerkrade contain valuable materials, qualities and former social structures. Demolition of these buildings will irreversibly impair these values. The objective of the Super Circular Estate is to circularly reuse these values within the project area whilst boosting the local economy and creating a high-quality and desirable urban environment. The former social structures will be recovered by actively stimulating former inhabitants to take residence in the area again. The project serves as a best example for approximately 1250 similar housing accommodations in the Parkstad Limburg region.

Solution proposed

The proposed innovative urban action is to experiment with new circular economy processes aimed at 100% reusing and recycling of materials acquired from the demolition of an outdated social housing high-rise flat.

Concretely, four pilot housing units will be built with different reuse/recycle techniques using materials acquired from the circular demolition of one of the high-rise social housing buildings. These will be compared in order to assess their viability and replicability. The harvested materials from the high-rise flat will be brought back to resources in 24 material flows, e.g. the surfaced timber will be restored to wood for reuse/recycle purposes. In line with circularity principles, former inhabitants will be invited back into the area. These potential tenants will be strongly involved in the co-design, operation and monitoring of the new collaborative economy services and facilities (such as a shared mobility platform and a social services centre) within the area. The project will generate 805.000 kilo of CO₂ emissions less, compared to the construction of a new high-rise flat. Besides the project will experiment with innovative techniques for water reuse by testing a closed water cycle Initiative for social housing.

Super Circular Estate's innovation aim is to revolutionize the management of social housing associations towards more sustainable, resource-efficient decision making, delivery models and processes. The Super Circular Estate aspires gathering important information for estate owners and social housing corporations in the EU with similar challenges in comparable shrinkage regions.

  • Municipality of Kerkrade
  • Brunssum municipality
  • Landgraaf municipality
  • Stadsregio Parkstad Limburg - regional authority
  • VolkerWessels Construction
  • Real Estate Development South and Dusseldorp Infra
  • Water Board Company Limburg
  • Limburg Drinking Water Company
  • IBA Parkstad B.V
  • Zuyd University of Applied Sciences
  • HeemWonen - social housing corporation
  • Association of Demolition Contractors (VERAS)
Expected results

The expected results for the Super Circular Estate project are:

  • The circular demolition of a high-rise flat with 100 dwellings resulting in 24 material streams.
  • The establishment of four pilot housing units with different reuse techniques, made from the harvested materials of the demolished high-rise flat.
  • Approximately 125 former inhabitants of the area back in the new neighbourhood.
  • A closed water cycle to provide 35 households with high-quality drinking water.
  • A social services centre with six functions to strengthen social cohesion and stimulates community building aimed at waste reduction.

A mobility platform providing e-cars, (e-)bikes and mobility scooters for inhabitants’ use.

Main milestones

July 2018: design and engineering of four pilot housing units using different reuse/recycle techniques.

September 2018: circular demolition of the top three floors from a high-rise flat for the establishment of the four Urban Innovative Actions housing units.

December 2018: completion of the four pilot housing units.

During 2019: circular demolition of a high-rise flat

January 2019: social services center up and running

During 2020: former inhabitants take residence in the new dwellings in their former neighborhood.

Start of 2020: closed water cycle in operation.

“Kerkrade is proud of its Super Circular Estate project which sees the restructuring of a large residential area in a highly innovative and for the most part previously unseen manner. The results of this project will deliver a considerable Contribution to future sustainable urban restructuring developments, in which not only materials are reused but also residents' thoughts and ideas play an integral part.”

Tim Weijers, Deputy Mayor of Kerkrade in charge of spatial planning and public housing.
The project in numbers
the rate of population shrinkage in the next 30 years in the Parkstad Limburg region
comparable dwellings from the original 3800 that were built during the 1960s are still inhabited today
805,000 kilo
is the reduction of CO₂ emissions compared to the construction of a new high-rise flat
Contact of the project
Huub Engelen
Project Manager

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