A place where city and forest are intertwined, built to connect people with eachother ánd nature. A place to live with a holistic view on life. That’s what Common Woods is working on. They’re creating Europe’s most sustainable residential area in Amersfoort with the perfect balance between people, city and nature.
What’s the idea behind Common Woods?
With Common Woods we want to show what living can look like in the future. A sustainable residential area where the houses are made of wood and where there is a circular energy system. We want to get back to living in communities, where you can grow food in a communal greenhouse, drink coffee in the neighborhood living room and share your cars and bicycles. This way, we build a special community and a better future together.
Who initiated Common Woods and what inspired him?
The initiative comes from me, Maurits van Hoogevest. Common Woods actually arose from making positive developments coming from resistance. Looking at projects from the past, in which the regulations in the Netherlands and the way in which governments deal with them, it always turned out to be difficult to actually change things. That gave a lot of negative energy so I decided to look at what could actually be done. We developed a participation model in which everyone involves eachother and is open to all input. As soon as there are shared values it becomes magical – then there is room for possibilities and options that were not there before. The question became, how are we going to create social intensity, biodiversity, circular construction, energy transition, mobility – how are we going to make that ultimate – how do we create an environment where awareness can develop. Until now, there have been no forms in which everything is included and in which the input of the future residents is taken into account, where the community really gets attention. What we’re creating is something that is very much in demand. People want to live consciously, mindful and sustainable. For me it is a drive to show that things cán be done differently.
In what ways is Common Woods sustainable?
All houses are made of wood from a forest plantation in Estonia. Everything is already prepared there, bundled close together, so that it can be shipped as sustainably as possible. It is then put together in the Netherlands. Building this way is 10% cheaper than conventional construction. Common Woods also works with next level waste and water treatment. The gray water (such as water from washing machines, dishwater, tap, shower) is collected by a filter so that it can continue to be reused. We also hope to work with aquaponics, creating a circular food chain for all residents. This means that there is a breeding pond where the faeces of all fish is collected in a filter. The faeces of all fish contain many good substances that can be used to grow tomatoes, for example. The waste from the tomatoes goes into the compost heap and that can be given back to the fish. Common Woods also has an eye for small forest dwellers, for the entire ecosystem. In the facades of the houses, tiny houses are made for bats and birds so that the animals that live there can also enjoy it!
How will the residents be part of a community?
There will be a neighborhood living room for all residents and they get to decide what’s necessary. Getting to know your neighbors is important, you can mean so much to each other. The residents will see for themselves what is really needed. That might be a carpenter or a yoga teacher – everyone contributes in her/his own way. Sharing mobility is also central, such as shared cars and bicycles. Where it comes down to is that we’re all doing this together.
Shared by Your Souldier
Pics Common Woods