Transforming social housing neighbourhoods into carbon neutral districts.
The objective of Venning ECO-Life was to transform the most disadvantage district in Kortrijk into the most sustainable, not just focusing on energy performance, ecology and CO2 neutrality, but also on a turning Venning into a pleasant place to live, stripping it of its social stigma. We wanted to use this project to show that extensive sustainability in construction is also feasible in the social housing sector, and not just for the environmentally-aware and wealthy middle class. Discussing issues such as energy consumption and ecological lifestyles with residents is a far cry from the traditional operating methods in the social sector, and it was a refreshing experience for all parties involved. This social engagement is a great opportunity to address healthy living and living together in a neighbourhood. As a result, the residents and even the designers underwent a transformation along with the district. Thanks to the European programme ECO-Life, it was possible to implement this project in collaboration with a range of partners, and to also pay sufficient attention to research and monitoring, both at universities and with the residents themselves, while keeping an eye on the local policies in the participating countries.