During the search for a suitable subject for my graduation research I noticed the city and its inhabitants interested me. The more I read about it, the clearer it is it became for me that I had to do something with this. My wish to improve the quality of life of people and a have identified promising demographic developments led me to have the goal for my graduation research found: contribute to the improvement of the environment of the future city.


Robin Erkamp

Better living

by Robin Erkamp

During the search for a suitable subject for my graduation research I noticed the city and its inhabitants interested me. The more I read about it, the clearer it is it became for me that I had to do something with this. My wish to improve the quality of life of people and a have identified promising demographic developments led me to have the goal for my graduation research found: contribute to the improvement of the environment of the future city.

Singleperson households

In 2050, half of all households will consist of singleperson households, while the current housing stock is not yet prepared for this (De Jong, 2018) (Vastgoed Actueel, 2017). In addition, this increase in the number of single-person households leads to a growth of the national ecological footprint (Gram-Hanssen, Holst Scherg & Christensen, 2009) (Nibud, 2018). This two-fold problem requires an innovative solution.

Demographic Shifts

In order to meet the expected general housing demand in The Netherlands, 1,000,000 houses need to be built before 2035 (ABF Research, 2018). A large proportion of these new houses will have to meet the needs of a new segmentof residents – people living alone (Klinenberg, 2012). Statistics Netherlands foresees a sharp increase of people living alone (CBS, 2018). In 2050 every second household will be a one-person household (De Jong, 2018).

Ecological Impact

This rise of the people living alone will have a negative impact on the Dutch national ecological footprint, because a one-person household has a higher ecological footprint than household with multiple residents (Gram-Hanssen, Holst Scherg & Christensen, 2009) (Nibud, 2018). Innovative and sustainable architectural solution are needed to solve this urgent environmental problem.

Consumer Trends

People the world over are already taking matters into their own hands, as they look for ways to decrease their impact on the environment. They are embracing smart solutions like sharing platforms in an effort to live a more sustainable life, while increasingly becoming aware that access offers benefits that ownership doesn’t. Also, people are beginning to spend their money more consciously by choosing the least negative options out there.

Societal Developments

There are opportunities to create healthy, sustainable and liveable residential buildings in Rotterdam. For instance, the negative consequences of the performance society can be mitigated and reduced by focusing on mental health promotion. In addition, the living environment of residents can be improved by removing unhealthy and polluting aspects.

The end of possession

Digitization is becoming one of the most impactful changes within our modern society (Strategy &, 2018). The rise of the internet has a global revolution caused – more and more people have access to information and digital services (Kaufman, 2012). Take the online streaming of music – instead of buying new music, more and more people play music online for a fixed amount each month. Statistics from Recording Industry Association of America (2018) shows that streaming from music nowadays yields make more money than the sales of physical CDs, digital downloads and license agreements combined. More companies are using digitization of services and make the switch from analogue to digital (Strategy &, 2018). In the media written almost daily about disrupters such as Uber and Airbnb, companies associated with the sharing economy. Behind this sharing economy an impactful development that ensures a changing attitude to property (World Economic Forum, 2019).

Concept Designs

Three concept designs have emerged from the defined opportunity area and the resulting solution direction. These concept designs were created during a co-creation session with the target group and employees of ConverseArchitects and further developed by the researcher. The 125 ideas devised during the co-creation session were used for this. In this chapter these three concept designs, All-In-One, Better Living and For Each Other, With Each Other, have been elaborated on the basis of a description.

Do you recognize that feeling; that there are too few hours in a day? As a young professional living alone your time is limited. You work hard, you have a household, a large social network and you want to spend enough time on your hobbies. You are also aware of your impact on the environment and you do it best to keep your ecological footprint as small as possible. Living the new All-in-One living concept ensures that you will find time again in your busy life and that you ecological footprint remains minimal.

Carefree living in a building that offers the facilities and conveniences of a hotel. Like you’re on holiday, at home. A weekly cleaning service ensures that your home stays tidy, you can use our laundry service, you can reserve one for your visit guest room and you don’t feel like cooking? Then you still get a healthy and organic meal finished? And with our solar panels, lamps with motion sensors, district heating and we take good care of our earth for electric shared cars.

With this living concept you pay with a flexible subscription for the facilities that you have that month Need. So choose per month if you want to use our services and save time you need to relax. The rental period is also flexible so that you are free to move to another city or country as soon as you want. Because what is more important than a healthy balance in your busy life?

You are someone who works hard, but loves what you do. As a young professional you seize the opportunities that you encounter and you are fully committed to achieving your goals. That hard work occasionally ensures that you do not relax enough or take the relaxation you need. You want more time for yourself and are looking for a solution that simplifies your life.

For you, sustainable living is about having the smallest possible ecological footprint. But it is just as important to you to be aware of your fellow human beings. “For each other, with each other” is the first living concept that relieves residents of household tasks by people with a to offer a learning place to work with a mental disability or psychological problem. They are responsible for the kitchen, where they provide healthy meals for the residents of the building. They work in the loundry room, where you can bring clothes and get them back neatly, or they learn everything about growing vegetables and fruit in greenhouses in the garden of the complex.

Because of this win-win situation, all parties involved are reaping the benefits, including you. You pay rent for a pleasant living space and facilities that bring peace and relaxation to your busy life. With part of that rent, you invest in employment opportunities for your fellow human beings, so that others can experience the satisfaction of “matter” in the world.

As a young professional you are at the beginning of your career. You don’t have to leave the city for work and social contacts. Yet you still long for nature and its tranquillity. Therefore you are aware that your way of life has an impact on the environment. You find it difficult to you achieve sustainable goals because it takes up a lot of time. And as a tenant you are disappointed have minimal influence on how sustainable the residential building you live in is.

Better Living is a living concept that offers a sustainable and healthy living environment. You no longer have to worry about your ecological footprint, because Better Living ensures that it remains as small as possible. The self-sufficient building awakens more energy than it needs and delivers the remaining energy to the city, reducing your costs. The ultramodern indoor vegetable greenhouse provides you and your neighbours with fresh vegetables and herbs. And the green roof collects rainwater and purifies it in an efficient manner after which it is used in the vegetable greenhouse. In addition, this green roof is a place where you can relax in peace relax and enjoy the fresh air.

As a tenant at Better Living you help start-ups realize their dreams – part of it your rent goes to a start-up. By living here you invest in the improvement of the world. These start-ups get a fixed workplace in your residential building, which means the connection between residents and start-ups will be better. Because there are enough free flexible workplaces, you can also work and network in your building. And as soon as you go somewhere else living you just get that investment back, so that you also have a positive future. In this way we create a better world together.


The assessment shows that Better Living scores the best and, above all, creates the most value. In addition, it appears that the participants of the concept test are the most enthusiastic about the Better Living concept.

From the perspective of the target group itself, this concept would therefore be the most welcome. This is followed by For Each Other, With Each Other. And finally All-in-One. Based on the insights from both methods, it can be concluded that Better Living is the best concept to work out at the level of concept definition.