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THE PROJECT

Building the post-capitalist urban commune of our dreams, from scratch.

OUR SHARED VISION

The time is now. The place is Amsterdam.

Housing cooperatives are a key player in the push for affordable and dignified housing against speculative markets. They enable tenants and users to reclaim part of the housing market according to their needs and concerns. Increasing the amount of community-driven social houses will also make the housing market more resilient in times of economic crises. Amsterdam has been an early pioneer in social cooperative housing and has always made room for innovation and development: By building upon this history, we intend to go further than our predecessors and prototype a housing cooperative fit for a new era.

We focus on becoming an experimental testing ground for future forms of co-living and equal social relationships in society. To that end, we want to foster a diverse, inclusive and democratically structured community. Our notion of diversity does not stop at nationality and income classes. It expands to ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, education, ability, marital, parental status and the list goes on.

dNM is about building shared infrastructures that allow us to take care of each other, the environment as well as the people that surround us. Communal infrastructures are facilities, procedures and values that we commonly build and rebuild, share and pass on. In many cases, communal infrastructures will also be made available to the people surrounding dNM, contributing to liveliness and inclusion in the neighbourhood.

dNM aims to be a pioneering and exemplary project in co-housing, sustainable building, caregiving and self-management. We are collaborating with designers, researchers and media to make dNM's design and experience widely accessible to the general public as a blueprint for future replications and adaptations. Our ambition is to be at the forefront of the collective effort to future-proof the development of Amsterdam.

DESIGN

de Nieuwe Meent is designed as a large co-living organism which offers a mix of independent social housing units and shared apartments for self-organized living groups, plus communal facilities and public spaces open the the city.

Living groups
tower units

  • The mid-range units will be accessible to households with an income above €38.035 and will partly subsidize the social housing. These units will arranged as several living groups, and the residents sharing them will form closely knit communities with a high commitment to sharing facilities. The households in the living groups will each pay for a 41m2 unit, while having the advantage of using much more shared spaces.
  • In the upcoming design phase, the layout of each group will be co-designed by potential residents, who can decide for instance on the size of their group, balance between private and communal space, or the purpose of additional spaces (workspaces, guest rooms, etc).
  • Living groups will self-organise their co-living independently, while being interdependent with the other living groups and independent units when it comes to managing dNM and its social infrastructure. New admissions will be collectively decided based on applications and interviews, seeking candidates willing to invest time and energy in the everyday collective life we seek at dNM.

Social housing
ground floor units

  • The units on the ground floor will be independent social housing, for families and individuals with a yearly income below €38.035. These units will qualify for social level rent based on the criteria of the municipality, and will be eligible for huursubsidie.
  • By providing independent social housing alongside living groups, we want to introduce a broader range of people to co-housing, who would benefit greatly from being part of such a community. They will have a very close connection with the rest of the community, having access to the communal lobby, shared facilities and gardens.
  • Averaging ca. 45m2 and with direct access from the courtyard or the street, this category is further differentiated into 2 types of units. Five units on the west side of the courtyard are single level and smaller, intended for single individuals. The other eight units on the east side of the courtyard are larger duplexes, better suited to families with sleeping quarters upstairs and living/kitchen or working space downstairs, with possibility of internal double heights.

communal spaces
and public functions

  • The courtyard is the heart of dNM, where the paths of our community intersect, with one big White Willow tree in the middle. The main access is from the station square with a double height passage that clearly defines the entrance. The courtyard provides direct access to most independent units, the non-housing functions and the communal lobby at the ground floor of the tower. Some units also have direct access from the street, as well as the niet-woonfuncties occupying the south corner.
  • The semi-public courtyard extends indoors, and becomes a 2-storey communal lobby at the base of the tower. At ground level, it has a double-height living area, a large professional kitchen and a long table for collective dinners. On the back side, shared facilities such as a laundry room, storage and toilets are available. The mezzanine has a more quiet polyfunctional room with a shared library, usable for meeting and learning, music and games, yoga and meditation, etc. This level is also connected to the plinth deck. The whole building is designed to be completely accessible to disabled.
  • To activate the station square, the non-housing functions are clustered into one big space on the south corner of the building, spreading on two levels of 200m2 in total. This space has a prominent position, a double height void, large windows and if possible, a sunny terrace facing the square. The interior of the space is conceived as modular stripes: café/diner, bar/kitchen, workshop/event venue, and flexible workspaces where various small non-profit businesses (bikeshop, printshop, crafts or repairs) operate. While the non-housing part operates independently from the rest of the building, its activities may sometimes spill over to the courtyard, the greenhouse or the green roof.

SUSTAINABILTY

Today, any discourse around re-thinking the future must address climate change. To face this challenge, cities need to radically minimize the resources they use and the waste materials they generate. We understand that the environmental impact of dNM includes the entire lifecycle of the building – from its construction and use, to its repurposing. Therefore, dNM will strive to be circular, carbon neutral, and adaptive.

More importantly, saving resources is about using less of them. We will share our common facilities – from the washing machine to tools, the toy collection and clothes for children. Because many facilities are shared, costs will also be lower. Energy will come from renewable sources integrated in the building. Crucially, in the face of an even more unpredictable future and given the likelihood of dNM residents changing, we have embedded high flexibility and adaptability in the building design, allowing dNM to be resilient and long-lasting.