Super Circular Estate

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

Urban Innovative Actions

The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a prestigious grant enabled by the European Union to stimulate sustainable urban development. The main objective of UIA is to provide urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test innovative solutions to main urban challenges, such as urban poverty, integration of migrants and refugees and circular economy. In order to be taken into consideration, initiatives should meet certain requirements. The initiative should be innovative and have not yet been implemented elsewhere, it should be located in one of the 28 EU Member States with at least 50 000 inhabitants and the initiative should be scalable to other locations.

In behalf of the UIA application for the SUPERLOCAL project, under the name of Super Circular Estate, no less than twelve partners are intensively cooperating: housing association HEEMwonen, the municipality of Kerkrade, IBA Parkstad, City Region of Parkstad Limburg, demolition firm Dusseldorp Infra, Sloop en Milieutechniek B.V.,VolkerWessels Construction and Real Estate Development South (VW VolkerWessels Construction and Real Estate Development South (VW), Waterboard Company Limburg (WBL), Limburg Drinking Water Company (WML), the municipalities of Landgraaf and Brunssum, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences and Association of Demolition Contractors (VERAS). The knowledge the partners attain during the implementation of the SCE project is open-source, the acquired skills are therefore available for use in other international projects.

Super Circular Estate

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.

Proposed innovative urban action

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 natural 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.

Expected main results

  • The circular demolition of a high-rise flat with 100 dwellings.
  • 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 stimulate community building aimed at waste reduction.
  • A mobility platform providing e-cars, (e-)bikes and mobility scooters for inhabitants’ use.

Watch the first Super Circular Estate Zoom-In

In this video, the Super Circular Estate construction team elaborates on the differences between a circular construction process, alike SCE, versus traditional construction processes. The team is interviewed by Elma Durmisevic, UIA-expert.