The Soft Transition: Towards a circular construction & demolition sector in South-Holland

the soft transition

Isabel van Ommen
Luiz do Nascimento
Matthew Roberts
Priscilla Namwanje
Robert van Overveld

Tutors: Diego Sepulveda, Luisa Calabrese and MarcinDąbrowski

Key words: circular construction & demolition sector, housing, socio-spatial justice, soft planning, circular jobs

Currently the Construction & Demolition (C&D) sector in South Holland produces 2.581.840 tons of waste every year, and is also responsible for 50% of raw material usage and 35% of CO2 emissions. This issue is aggravated when considering the 200.000 houses that still need to be built in the region in the upcoming decade, increasing the amount of waste and pollution produced, not only by the construction of new houses, but also by new infrastructure. The provincial government has multiple obligations to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and so has committed to achieving an entirely circular economy by 2050.

This project focuses on the Construction and Demolition sector and its implications for the province’s spatial structure, focusing on three key themes: housing, socio-spatial justice, and the C&D sector. By using methods and practices found in Soft Planning theories, such as soft spaces, horizontal structure of stakeholders and open-ended proposals and design policies, the outcome of this research provides new perspectives on how to tackle social and spatial inequalities in the province of South Holland, whilst shaping the C&D Sector towards more sustainable, circular practices.

The soft transition takes the existing initiatives within the construction sector into account and aims for utmost collaboration with all stakeholders. Particular attention is paid to low-income neighborhoods that bear the brunt of construction companies’ externalities and do not directly benefit from their proximity to educational institutions and job opportunities. Resultantly, a set of patterns is formulated in order to set the stage for co-creation and facilitate the collaboration of the different actors at the scale of province, city and neighborhood. The project further details how these patterns could be applied on a contextual basis, and explores these scenarios in two locations within the province, notably Binckhorst in The Hague, and Dordrecht.

1. Take an active role as government by creating strong and active networks between stakeholders and ensure an equal conversation
2. Create a playground for stakeholders to act in by using the suggested patterns
3. Reflecting on strategies and outcomes is of crucial importance to stay on track
4. Make information about bio-based and circular materials as accessible as possible

Full report