Water voor wonen

The province of Noord-Holland needs to build 200.000 new homes and clear 2.000 hectares of farmland for storage of excess surface water by 2040. While farmers are normally saddled with the burdens of water retention, housing development is usually the domain of project developers. Both working at the expense of the landscape.


Water voor Wonen is a concept that links building and water assignment to reduce the spatial claim on the historical Dutch landscape. In doing so, it seeks to bring an end to the financially distorted relationship between burden and benefit, the principle being that farmers, in exchange for storing water on their land, should be given the legal rights to develop floating houses on this newly created water surface.

Within the Wijdewormer polder, agricultural entrepreneurs must make room for a certain quantity of open water behind their yards, patterned as a neat system of ditches aligned to the main road. They can then lease out the newly-created water surface or sell it as building lots for development of CO2 neutral floating-houses. A green roof can conceal the architectural design of these dwellings from the old and traditional street view. Farmers can also invest part of the profits of this new housing in nature development and sustainable energy sources such as solar panels and a collective biogas system. They will also invest in new agricultural facility roads along the ditch, which could also double as cycle and footpaths for recreational purposes. New occupants will feel involved with agriculture and can start their own vegetable gardens under the auspices of the professional farmer.


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Wijdewormer, Wormerland


First prize