To what extent does the place where you grow up determine your fate? How can everyone benefit from the opportunities an environment has to offer? Proximity and access to education, work, care and facilities are the spatial key. They are part of the solution.

'The neighbourhood in which a child grows up influences the income they later achieve,' the CPB recently found through its research. It’s therefore okay if your parents have lower education or income levels. That only becomes a problem if no child in your class or street has parents with a different perspective on life, according to research by the American David Rusk[1]. That’s why we argue for socio-economically mixed neighbourhoods. Within these mixed neighbourhoods, people like to live among like-minded people in homogeneous communities [2]. Different groups meet each other every day: in the classroom, at the supermarket or on the street. But you mainly share a porch, park or parking space with people like you.

The mixed social composition of neighbourhoods is essential for a city to function as an emancipation machine. And that in turn is crucial for a city to be and remain vital. Meanwhile, more and more cities are at risk of becoming unaffordable for middle groups and some neighbourhoods consist of more than 80% social housing. Neither situation is good for the city or society. Mixed neighbourhoods offer vital professions, such as teachers, nurses and police officers, the opportunity to find an affordable home close to their work. Although many highly educated people commute and can work from home with the same ease, this does not apply to vital professions. Mixed neighbourhoods also offer the opportunity to create a housing career in your own familiar neighbourhood. In this way, some of the social risers in a neighbourhood can be retained. It is also important that all neighbourhoods have access to high-quality public transport, so that all residents (at a basic level) have access to education, work, care and other facilities. Whether you are young or old, poor or rich, or were born here or elsewhere.

Our designs try to contribute to this – through facilities, such as Theater Zuidplein and vocational training. Or as in Groeseind in Tilburg, by attracting new residents to a neighbourhood by providing it with a new heart. The buildings and areas we work on serve society as a whole.

>> see also mixed-use

[1] David Rusk, 'Inside game, outside game' (1999), p. 124
[2] BPD onderzoek ‘Thuis in mijn stad’, 2018 en Prof. Jan Latten