Research project

The compass towards a healthy smart environment

A framework for the development of a new healthy and inclusive neighborhood

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The consortium ‘Healthy Smart Neighborhoods’ contributes to the national knowledge infrastructure for a healthy environment by developing a compass for healthy new neighborhoods. The aim of the compass is to contribute to and to guide the development of integral solutions for an inclusive and healthy neighborhood, in which social interaction is an important aspect, and in particular in the new neighborhood Braiport Smart District. The main research question this compass addresses is: ‘How does the design of the spatial environment and the design of the integral collaboration of an inclusive neighborhood contribute to social cohesion and health in the new neighborhood Brainport Smart District?’.

The new neighborhood Brainport Smart District will be developed in Helmond. The ambition of Brainport Smart District is to become a district in which new insights and smart technology will be integrated towards a sustainable, social, and attractive neighborhood. The neighborhood has to become an example for future smart and healthy living solutions, in which inclusion, social cohesion, and participation are central. The intended approach is to start from the beginning of the project with an integrated approach in which the social, digital, and spatial domain come together. The neighborhood will be set up as a Living Lab in such a way that the effects of the implemented innovation on people’s health can be immediately tested in daily practice.

Brainport Smart District makes use of seven program lines: (1) attractive and circular neighborhood, (2) participation, (3) social and safe neighborhood, (4) healthy neighborhood, (5) digital neighborhood, (6) mobile neighborhood, and (7) neighborhood with energy. The compass towards a healthy smart environment is linked to the program lines ‘healthy neighborhood’, ‘social and safe neighborhood’’, and ‘participation’.

This leads to the project ‘Healthy Smart Neighborhoods’ towards the focus of health and inclusiveness; which we will investigate further. According to ‘Healthy Smart Neighborhoods’, the focus of a healthy neighborhood lies on the ‘social neighborhood’, which provides an opportunity to decrease social economical inequalities and to achieve inclusiveness in the neighborhood. The compass emphasizes on the consideration of the more vulnerable target groups in society. Pre conditions for the social neighborhood are a ‘safe and clean’ neighborhood and a ‘green and physically active’ neighborhood. On one hand, the soft side of the ‘social neighborhood’ will be researched, concentrating on reducing social economic health differences, vulnerable target groups, and social cohesion. On the other hand, the hard side will be researched by smart architecture of four spatial levels: the public space, the public-private space, the public space, and an overarching scale level.

The development of the compass and the research are and will be conducted by a multidisciplinary consortium. This consortium contains of University of Technology Eindhoven, Tilburg University Tranzo, Stichting Brainport Smart Ditsrict, Stichting KIEN, Coöperatie Slimmer Leven 2020, the municipality of Helmond, GGD, Peel Duurzaam Gezond, and InnoSportLab Sport & Beweeg.

The project ‘Healthy Smart Neighborhoods’ consist of two phases. During the first phase (September 2018 – August 2019), the compass will be developed. During the second phase of the project (September 2019 – May 2022), the main research question will be investigated and the compass will be further developed. As a result, (design) strategies in the area of spatial planning for the neighborhoods Brainport Smart district (including (smart) housing types, facilities, encounters and place making (i.e. organizing spatial settings in which people interact)) and the organization of integral collaboration (policy, participation, and connecting sectors) in order to create an inclusive neighborhood that contributes to social cohesion and health.