Increasing privately commissioned housing
The Dutch government has taken initiative to expand housing production commissioned by private individuals. As common as this might be in other countries, in The Netherlands it is unusual, expensive and complicated. This chapter goes into some of the reasons why this is so, as well as providing a strategy of how this can be changed.
By nature of the exercise, it should be by private initiative rather than by municipalities to come up with suggestions on how the goal of substantively increasing private commissioning of building can be met. This chapter demonstrates how this challenge to municipal administration can be turned into an opportunity for the temporary settlement, and shows ways how private commissioned building can be realized in town extension programs.
Dividing the building process into two phases
The strategy suggested to upscale private commissioning of housing is by dividing the building process into two phases, a more standardized part where the physical frames and large scaled mechanized works are provided by traditional developers and the more tailor made apartments inside these frames that are provided by the Nest! Housing Coop.
This way the private commissioning is only done for the part of the work that is most interesting to develop this way, and traditional developers still access their share of the market.
The Nest Housing Coop described in the previous chapter plays an important intermediary role between the private and commercial developers involved in the process, making it more manageable on both sides.
The traditional developer does not have to deal with a large number of consumer wishes and can still keep a certain volume of work going, and the family wishing to commission their own house can find a corporation specialized on this role, as well as receiving support from a like minded collective.
By organizing the development of privately commissioned housing collectively in the temporary settlement, the Nest! creates benefits on several levels. It creates ways for more families to get closer to their goal of owning a house. It introduces a potent instrument for community building and community involvement. And it provides an economic opening to developers to get more involved in the social aspects of urban construction. Last but not least. finding ways to realize privately commissioned building enhances possibilities that houses will fit peoples wishes more completely.
The privately commissioned building process as described in this chapter offers opportunities to save, to contribute skills and labor, as well as to invest. As such it also constitutes an important part of the local economy and enhances the economic power both of the individual participants as well as of the settlement as a whole.
Growing into permanence
The privately commissioned housing scheme developed in this chapter constitutes one of the major ways the temporary settlement can grow towards permanence, and the community building experience of the Nest! can be seeded in and rooted down in the permanent settlement. Participants are involved in the temporary settlement before buying or renting a house in the permanent development. They become the link between the experience of the temporary settlement and the neighborhood that will come afterwards. They bring the community spirit and social networks built up during the temporary settlement to the new neighborhood.
The privately commissioned housing project also constitutes a central part of the participatory urban development process described in chapter 5, where residents evolve as a key player of urban planning.