Discovering the Significance of Housing Neighbourhoods by Assessing Their Attributes With a Digital Tool

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Much of the building stock subjected to the upcoming European Renovation Wave is neither listed as heritage nor considered valuable architecture. This also applies to Dutch housing built between 1965 and 1985, more than 30% of the Dutch housing stock, for which there is no consensus on their cultural significance. Their successful renovation process requires broad support. What attributes do citizens consider significant in their neighbourhood? How do we include a multitude of stakeholders? And can digital methods help collect and process responses? This article reveals significant attributes of residential neighbourhoods from 1965 to 1985, assessed by various stakeholders with a digital tool based on case studies in Amsterdam and Almere. A mobile application allowed individuals to identify significant attributes at various scales while visiting the neighbourhood. By qualitative data analysis of survey and interview results, groups of tangible and intangible attributes were deduced. Results show that identifying attributes by current stakeholders broadens existing expert-led assessments on 1965–1985 neighbourhoods by including, for example, generic attributes not originally intended by the designers. Asking open-ended questions is considered essential to identify undiscovered attributes by alternative stakeholders, although dealing with large numbers of responses is recognised as a challenge to cluster and classify. Lastly, the mobile application appears to be a useful digital tool, but integrating scientific consistency and usability is recommended for further development. Engaging multiple stakeholders with such mobile applications allows for collecting opinions, anticipating conflicts, or shared interests between stakeholders and integration into renovation designs. It can empower citizens to preserve the neighbourhood attributes that are most significant to them.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6998
Number of pages20
JournalUrban Planning
Publication statusPublished - 2024


The research described in this article is part of the project Renoveren met Respect (Respectful Renovation), which is funded by the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency, within the research programme Erfgoed en Duurzaamheid (Heritage and Sustainability). The project duration is September 2020 to February 2024, under Case No. 155849.


  • cultural significance
  • heritage attributes
  • housing neighbourhoods
  • post-Second World War architecture
  • participation


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