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Archiprix 2021

Towards the Inclusive Village

A new future for the forgotten villages

Concept - Listen to the landscape

As a true village optimist, I believe that villages hold the answer for a new bright future. They play an important role in the future of the Netherlands.

“By changing villages into integral collective places which provide in the basic needs, villages can become attractive and livable again.”

Living in a carefree world, that is the big idea.

It is truly unbelievable!... Despite the fact that the world is giving us all kinds of signals that our current way of life is unsustainable, we cling desperately to our economically driven systems. When are we going to realise that this system no longer fits? What if we don’t strive for as much financial profit anymore, but strive for a world of happiness?

No more worries about money or a house to sleep in, but worries about which unique character trait you will develop today. A system in which we no longer have to worry about the globe, but a system in which we enhance its qualities and use them in a sustainable way. Living WITH nature instead of living FROM nature.

One thing is certain: if that is the starting point, it turns out that the potential does not lie in the cities where the feeling of happiness is lowest. It is therefore incomprehensible to me that the urbanization is now greater then ever… with all its consequences. Because at the same time, villages find themselves in a downward spiral, a spiral whereby functions and the “known” social cohesion are threaten to disappear. The loss of the village seems to be a fact in 2020! Or not?....

Village of the future

What if the "decline" in the villages also offers opportunities to do things differently? What if villages are not the past, but the future? A future in which we can build a carefree existence. The solution lies in the re-activation of the unused potentials. Restoring our relationship with the landscape and subsoil, creating open, yet tightly connected communities and at the same time making the small entities (villages corporations) part of a larger global system. The benefit of a village is that we can realize this train of thoughts within a size and scale that is manageable for everyone. In other words, developing an integral and sustainable system that would be too complicated for the city.

In the village of the future, we go back to the basics and learn to appreciate the landscape/subsoil again. This does not mean giving up luxury, but ensuring that the village provides in the essentials of life. If you live in the village, you are simply entitled to the basic needs that the landscape can provide, basic needs such as: water, food, raw materials, energy and social contacts. You can see it as a kind of basic income, but instead of money you receive resources.

Case study Megen

Although I could have used almost any village as a case for this line of thought, I chose my own village “ Megen”. Because, trite or not; change begins with yourself.

The landscape in the “NEW” Megen is optimized in all its potentials. From a few monocultures we shift to a high diversity of establishments. This not only benefits the biodiversity and landscape experience, but also its use and functionality. By looking closely at the subsoil and activating its potential, the new landscape offers all kinds of possibilities in the field of food production, water filtration, energy generation and the extraction of raw materials. By linking these functionalities within a closed ecosystem, we create a sustainable system that even brings improvements in the social structure of the settlement… This way of development even forms the starting point for a possible expansions in the village. After all, the landscape determines how many people it can handle, and that is exactly what matters. The right balance between city and landscape.

A new development may sound far away but who wouldn't want to live in a place where you are provided with your daily needs "for free"

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About Ron van den Heuvel

As true “optimist” I believe in improving the world, making it a better place. Thinking & designing in the field of spatial planning gives me the opportunity to achieve these goals. The assignment I set myself is to create spaces that everyone (all living things) can use in a good and proper way.

Design principles - Creating added value

Masterplan Megen

Before/after - From monoculture to permaculture

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