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What kind of housing do we envision for ourselves? The shortage on the Amsterdam housing market made us reflect on this question. Affordability of proper housing is not the only current issue, the level of solidarity among neighbours and the availability of sufficient green space are under strain as well.
Our home should be a lively and harmonious base, is our conclusion. A place where we as starters on the housing market can expand the concept of 'property' and practice the idea of 'sustainability'. A space where one can safely retreat, but where social interaction is always found around the corner. A link in the local system, connected with neighbourhood residents and the natural environment.
Out of this vision, a concrete plan emerged: To build our own collectively organized home, adhering to the principles of a 'housing cooperative'. Build collectively, finance collectively, govern collectively, live as a community. We align with the ambition of the Amsterdam municipality to enrich the city's scope with social, sustainable and affordable housing cooperatives.
(Foto Ina Klamer)
What will it look like?
The definitive design of De Torteltuin is not set in stone. Many choices will depend on the size of the lot that will (hopefully) be assigned to us, as well as its location. In the neighbourhood 'Overtoomse Veld' we will want to take on a different role compared to living on 'IJburg'. We therefore seek to remain flexible in our plans. We do however have an idea about our tentative wishes.
De Torteltuin aims to build between 30 and 50 housing units. As for the location, we have a preference for the city outskirts - a somewhat more green and quiet environment, where we can make a substantial contribution to the development of the neighbourhood. We want to pioneer. For independent single-person households we hope to build in the range of ±40 m2, for single-family housing this will be ±100 m2. We are investigating the options for modulair or flexible construction, which would allow us to shift spaces between the different apartments. Additionally, it will be possible to win back space by designing some of our units as shared households, where facilities such as the kitchen, washing commodities, tools and (electric) cars are shared among the residents. Sharing is an important aspect of De Torteltuin. As a group we will have the ability to collectively invest in for example a (vegetable-)garden, workshop or some multifunctional shared space. The preferences for sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities are diverse, we are therefore investigating a hybrid design, where different wings of the building enjoy different levels of commodity sharing. Additionally, we desire to build and live as self-sufficient and CO2-neutral as possible, by being very careful about our energy, water and food consumption, and by investing in sustainable materials and mechanisms. We dream of transforming our future garden into a small city-farm based on permaculture techniques. The composition and nature of our households is open at this moment. Committed to diversity, we maintain our goal to build with, and for people of all ages, social classes and cultural backgrounds. From these concrete and slightly-less-concrete visions, we have distilled three core values: social sustainability, environmental sustainability and affordability.
Alexander (Foto Ina Klamer)
Onze ALV in Museum het Kromhout (Foto Ina Klamer)
De Torteltuin is a prospering community, where both the material and the immaterial are being shared among its members. Decisions and policy are made in concurrence with the whole group, based on trust in one another. Every individual displays the responsibility and engagement necessary to contribute in his or her own way, with an outlook on one's own interest, as well as that of the group and its surroundings. The community achieves more than just internal stability, it reaches out to take on a positive role in the neighbourhood. We open our doors to local residents, and would like to be a platform for local creativity.
De Torteltuin aims to be a positive factor for nature as much as for humans. A first requirement is therefore to minimize the negative impact on the environment, by using sustainable materials and techniques for construction, by designing the building to be as carbon dioxide-neutral as possible and by closing our cycles. Our goal is to achieve a high level of self-sustainability in our energy and food supplies, with maximum control over generation and production. Finally, we will create new spaces for nature, plants and animals.
De Torteltuin stands for everybody's right to a beautiful home. In a time in which housing costs are on the rise, we build for all income classes - from social to medium rent, all non-profit. As a community, we ensure a fair distribution of costs for basic facilities, and choose to invest our acquired capital with an outlook on solidarity. Together we have the financial means for material and immaterial resources that help us become who we want to be. By investing in a fund for cooperative housing communities, we can create a healthier housing market not just for our own, but also for future generations.
(Foto Ina Klamer)