The inclusive neighbourhood Hart van de Waalsprong

With the future in mind

From social homes to more expensive owner-occupied homes, inclusive neighbourhoods provide (living) space for everyone and for every budget. Meeting places, cosy common courtyards, and the use of shared cars create connections and stimulate interaction between the different residents. 

An example of an inclusive neighbourhood is Hart van de Waalsprong in Nijmegen. At the heart of the new neighbourhood is a shopping centre with shops and cosy cafés. In addition to the rental homes, ranging from social homes to the medium and expensive segment, and the owner-occupied homes, there are also twenty-three assisted living homes in Hart van de Waalsprong. But what is it that makes this neighbourhood so inclusive, besides the different types of homes? We have asked our colleagues to tell us more about it.

What makes Hart van de Waalsprong an inclusive neighbourhood? 
René Steman, development manager at VanWonen, has been involved in the development from the start. “Why this neighbourhood is inclusive? Several aspects contribute to that. The variation in the homes ensures that a mix of people will be living here. From young to old, from low to higher incomes. We also ensure good accessibility; the neighbourhood is wheelchair accessible and well connected to the mobility network. We are currently discussing with shop owners how we can make jobs available to people who have difficulty entering the labour market. We want everyone to feel that they belong. Everything comes together here. A real beating heart.”

You say that everything comes together. How exactly is that sense of connection created?

Hans Berghege, Sales Manager at VanWonen, does not need time to think about this question. “Meeting others is the central theme of the urban development design.  Think of cosy green common courtyards, with areas to sit, to get to know each other, and to socialise with other local residents. We have created these meeting places near the shopping centre, close to the homes and in the public space. While developing this area, we carefully thought about how we can stimulate that people meet each other. An example is waste disposal: for the ground-oriented houses, the waste is collected at a collective point. This moment and this place provide another opportunity to meet people.”

So, shared moments define this inclusive neighbourhood. Also in the area of sustainable mobility?

“Absolutely”, says René Steman. “The residents of this neighbourhood have 12 shared cars at their disposal. We also offer each household a voucher of 500 euros to purchase an electric bicycle from the local bicycle shop. A real win-win situation. And Hart van de Waalsprong energy can be consumed, because several roofs are covered with solar panels, including the roof of the multi-storey car park, and the energy that is generated is for general use.” 

This mix of residents, combined with uses such as working, shopping, leisure and meeting, ensures an inclusive neighbourhood. Hart van de Waalsprong will be the first energy-neutral shopping centre in the Netherlands. With solar panels, a solar roof, green façades, bioswales, water-storage roofs and water features.

Our ambition for 2030
We have set ourselves challenging goals for the coming years. Are you curious about our ambition for 2030, and how we plan to achieve it? 

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