In Helmond’s Brandevoort District in the Netherlands, an exciting new development had boldly declared its plans to become “The Smartest Neighborhood in the World.” Known as the Brainport Smart District (BSD), the tech-savvy and sustainable initiative has taken one step closer to reality thanks to the recently unveiled spatial plans created by a design team led by UNStudio. To be developed in phases across the span of 10 years, the Brainport Smart District will be a one-of-a-kind, mixed-use neighborhood that will adapt to users’ changing demands.

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rendering of a glass vertical farm building near an outdoor farm and brick buildings

Created in collaboration with Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners, Metabolic, Habidatum and UNSense, the masterplan for the Brainport Smart District includes 1,500 new residences and 12 hectares of commercial space. As a “living lab,” the neighborhood will be centered on a central park and promote a symbiotic relationship between the built environment and the landscape; the natural reserves and green space will be sustainably managed to produce food, energy and water while processing waste and providing wildlife habitat. The latest technologies will also be used to ensure the district’s success, from the application of joint digital data management to revolutionary transport systems.

rendering of people dining at tables near a glass round building

One of the most notable differences between the Brainport Smart District and typical developments is the construction timeline. “Design and construction will go hand-in-hand with step-by-step development,” the press release stated. “This new district aims to contribute to the creation of a sustainable and unique living concept, one which embraces experimentation and ‘learning by doing’. Brainport Smart District and the UNStudio team’s ambition is to develop a framework for urban development that will empower and motivate people and innovation.”

Related: UNStudio unveils twisting “Green Spine” high-rise proposal for Melbourne

aerial map of neighborhood layout

The Brainport Smart District includes an area of 155 hectares — larger than 320 football fields — that gives the development ample room to experiment and grow within a flexible grid that can change depending on the users’ needs. The development welcomes both local and international users open to communal ways of life, whether in shared energy generation or land cultivation. The larger goal of the Brainport Smart District will be to raise the bar for mixed-use development, not only with its sustainable approach to materials, energy and climate adaption, but also with regards to improving biodiversity, human health and economic opportunities.

+ UNStudio

Images by Ploomp