BK Talks: 1 million new homes?

Addressing the housing urgency in the Netherlands

24 February 2022 18:00 till 20:00 - Location: OOSTSERRE & ONLINE - By: Communication BK | Add to my calendar

On 24 February, the BK Talks '1 million new homes? Addressing the housing urgency in the Netherlands' will take place.

Housing shortage has been the cause of a lively political and social debate Worldwide. At present, housing scarcity in the Netherlands is so dire that large-scale, nationwide protests are taking place, something unseen since the squatters' riots of the 1980s.

There is much discussion about the complex interplay of causes of the housing shortage and the sharp rise in prices, and some seem to agree in the solution: 1 million homes need to be built within a period of approximately 10 to 15 years. Such claim is heartily supported by the construction lobby, despite the financial crisis caused by the burst of the housing bubble about a decade ago. Building 1 million new homes might sound therefore as the silver bullet to solve the housing crisis, but in the long run it may become a recipe for disaster.

Critics point to, among other things, the weak substantiation of the figure of 1 million new homes, the enormous financial and infrastructural constraints, the limited interest in the transformation of the existing housing stock or, very importantly, where the new homes will be located: should the new housing be built in new neighborhoods outside the existing cities, or should the new homes be built within the existing urban fabric? 

This discussion is still being conducted separately from other major challenges that the Netherlands need to tackle, namely climate change (both adaptation and mitigation), energy transition, and the development of integrated water and landscape management (sustainable agriculture, livestock farming and nature development). Can thousands of homes be built in areas that will no longer be possible to keep dry in 80 to 100 years as a result of sea level rise, peaks in river discharge and subsidence?

This BK Talks aims at involving all agents, from designers to developers, policy makers and citizens, and to shed light on the solutions to the current housing crisis, both in the Netherlands and the rest of the World.


Javier Arpa Fernández
Research and Education Coordinator, The Why Factory, TU Delft

Javier is the Research and Education Coordinator of the Why Factory, Curator of Public Programs of the Faculty of Architecture at TU Delft and Editor-in-Chief at MVRDV. He is also a lecturer in the Landscape Architecture Department of the University of Pennsylvania. He is the curator of the exhibitions Paris Habitat and Paysages Habités, both held in 2015 at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal in Paris, and is the author of the monograph Paris Habitat: One Hundred Years of City, One Hundred Years of Life. At the University of Pennsylvania, he is currently conducting the research project Africa: An Atlas of Speculative Urbanization. He co-curated the exhibition African Speculations at the Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival in July 2017 and at Politecnico di Milano in February 2019. Javier was Senior Editor for a+t research group, one of Europe’s leading publishers in architecture and urban design, where he co-authored the Density, Hybrids, In Common, Civilities and Strategies series.


Esther Agricola
Director of North-West, Bouwfonds Property Development

Esther Agricola is director at BPD for the region North-West. BPD (Bouwfonds Property Development), established in 1946, is taking care of sustainable area development and is building approx 6.000 dwellings in the Netherlands on yearly basis. Affordable housing and sustainable urbanism are key topics.

Esther studied history of architecture and political sciences. After being director of KEI,  the national research institute for urban renewal (2000-2006), she switched to the city of Amsterdam as director Heritage and Archeology (2007), and was in 2015 appointed as director Urban Planning and Sustainablity, also in Amsterdam. Esther is driven by long term planning, spatial quality & identity, and working on working together.

Darinka Czischke
Associate Professor, BK TU Delft

Dr Darinka Czischke is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology. In 2014 Dr Czischke was awarded the Delft Technology Fellowship to develop her research on Collaborative Housing. She is the founder of the Co-Lab Research group at the TU Delft and co-founder of the working group ‘Collaborative Housing’ at the European Network for Housing Research (ENHR). Previously, she worked as Director of World Habitat (formerly Building and Social Housing Foundation, BSHF); Research Director of the European Social Housing Observatory at CECODHAS Housing Europe; and as Research Associate at the LSE Cities Programme, London School of Economics and Political Science. She has published extensively about social, affordable and collaborative housing in international comparative perspective. She is currently the leader of Project Together!, a cross-sector initiative focused on realizing the potential of collaborative housing forms in the Netherlands.

Reinout Kleinhans
Associate Professor of Urban Regeneration, BK TU Delft

Reinout Kleinhans is Associate Professor of Urban Regeneration at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology. He has a background in urban geography and urban sociology. His research interests and expertise include urban regeneration, socio-spatial inequality, housing restructuring, (online) participatory planning and community entrepreneurship. He is currently studying the ‘return’ to integrated spatial planning (ruimtelijke ordening) and its implications for urban regeneration and housing restructuring. Reinout is interested in how regeneration (including substantial housing construction) can be implemented in a spatially integrated, just and sustainable way. This includes urgent complexities related to land, water, nature, climate change and inequality. He is also concerned about short-term decisions made quickly that may create fundamental problems in the longer term (e.g. massive housing construction in flood prone areas).

Francesco Veenstra
Chief Government Architect, The Netherlands

Francesco Veenstra has been Chief Government Architect since September 1st 2021. The Chief Government Architect advises the government on issues of spatial quality. He also guarantees the architectural and urban quality of government projects.

Francesco Veenstra (1973) has been a partner at Vakwerk architecten in Delft since 2017 and worked at Mecanoo, where he was co-owner from 2007 to 2017. He has extensive experience in projects for cultural organizations, higher education, commercial real estate and infrastructure.

“In planning development, it is important to look as far into the future as possible. Beyond the 2030 horizon with which the cabinet is working. This is important because it gives you a better idea of what you really need. We are now working on the construction of 1 million homes until 2030, but the task may actually be many more homes until 2050 when considering the growth  of population and the increase of one-person households.”

Nathalie de Vries
Founding Partner, MVRDV

Nathalie de Vries is founding partner of MVRDV, an architect and urban planner. She is an Honorary Fellow of the AIA and International Fellow of the RIBA. De Vries is also City Architect for the municipality of Groningen and a professor at TU Delft. As an architect, she appreciates intensive collaboration with clients and interdisciplinary design teams, but also with residents and other stakeholders. With MVRDV, De Vries has won various awards, such as the Amsterdamprijs, the Architizer A+ Award and Red Dot Design Award. Well-known designs by Nathalie include Silodam, the transformation of a former silo building and dam into a new residential and work building. With regards to the 1 Million Homes initiative, de Vries wonders whether we have all the information to consider it a ‘silver-bullet’ solution. Guarding against short-term thinking, she believes that holistic and collaborative solutions will need to be explored.

Dick van Gameren
Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment, TU Delft

Dick van Gameren has been the dean of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment since 1 April 2019. He studied Architecture in Delft and graduated cum laude in 1988. For a long time, he ran his own architecture firm and in 2013 became a partner with Mecanoo Architecten in Delft. Over the years he has realised numerous projects, ranging from exhibition designs to urban-development master plans. Examples of his designs include residential buildings in IJburg and the Eastern Docklands area of Amsterdam and in the Westelijke Tuinsteden neighbourhood of the city. His design for the Dutch Embassy in Ethiopia won him the prestigious Aga Khan Award in 2007. It is just one of the many awards he has received. Recently, he won the Rijnlandse Architectuurprijs with his design for the Langebrug student housing project in Leiden. He has been Professor of Dwelling at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment since 2006, and chairman of the Architecture Department for ten years; his responsibilities include managing an international teaching and research network aimed at tackling the problem of affordable housing in rapidly expanding cities in Asia and Africa.

Practical information

This BK Talks will be streamed live from the Oostserre and can be followed via this link.

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