Adaptability and innovation. The Dutch experience in the public promotion of mass housing neighbourhoods: 1945-1985

D. Navas Carrillo, L.G.K. Spoormans, H. Zijlstra, Teresa Pérez-Cano

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This paper seeks to approach the context –social, economic and political– that conditioned themassive housing construction in the Netherlands after World War II. For this purpose, it has beennecessary to build a general framework about the construction of public housing in the second halfof the twentieth century, through the analysis of approved urban planning and housing legislationand the identification of the organisations responsible for public housing construction in these years.As the central methodology, the research has required an extensive search of literature andreferences to articulate the relationship between the knowledge previously generated. For thispurpose, in addition to research publications, professional papers or legislative documents, it hasbeen necessary to consult to experts, researchers or professionals as part of a research stay at theDelft University of Technology.Compared to other European contexts, the Dutch housing policy has two differentialcharacteristics that should be highlighted. Firstly, the long history and massive production of publicrental housing promoted by housing corporations. Secondly, a lower legislative output that favoursgreater flexibility, but also agility and adaptability. In this respect, the new regulations that cameinto force in 1965 made it possible to divide the time frame analysed into two periods.The first of these, known as Reconstruction Period, is characterised by a more significant rolefor the Government in solving the housing problem through the Central Housing Directorate of theMinistry of Reconstruction and Housing. The priority was to develop measures to alleviate thehousing shortage. The annual housing construction programs were accompanied by additionalfinancial aid to promote residential production, as well as measures to streamline the design andconstruction processes of housing.The second one introduces a third specific feature of Dutch housing production: innovation.According to the results of this work, this can be exemplified in two directions. From thetypological point of view, the Experimental Housing Programme is promoted, which favours theconstruction of experimental residential projects in its functional programme and its constructiveresolution. From the geographical distribution of public housing, there is also a significant change,focussing on cities of intermediate scale, to curb the excessive growth of the large Dutch cities ofthe Randstad.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLas Bellas Artes Hoy
EditorsÁlvaro Pérez Garcia, Juan Manuel Corbacho Valencia, Moisés Selfa Sastre
Place of PublicationValencia
PublisherTirant lo Blanch
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9788418614231
ISBN (Print)978-84-18534-60-7
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventCUICIID 2020 : Libro des Actas - Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain
Duration: 7 Oct 20208 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameCiencias de la comunicación
PublisherTirant Lo Blanch


ConferenceCUICIID 2020
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • mass housing
  • Public policy
  • residential buildings
  • social housing
  • twentieth century heritage


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