A day at the World Garden Cities conference, by Housing Europe

From Amsterdam, we left straight for the Overvecht Noord district in Utrecht to explore the legacy of modernist architecture in social housing. Organised by the municipality of Utrecht and Housing Europe, within the scope of our 🇪🇺 Horizon ARV project, this trip brought to the surface the challenges of renovating post-war housing estates.


Most social housing estates built in the 60-70s in Western Europe followed the lead to meet the great affordable housing demand that followed WWII. This often translated into massive concrete tower blocks surrounded by an abundance of open green space, which generated inward-looking, isolated housing estates with physical boundaries that segregated lower-income groups from the city. Eventually, modernist estates became a focal point of social exclusion and criminality.

Today, Overvecht Noord, built in the 1960s-1970s, aims to become fossil-free by 2030. Plans are in place to renovate 5,000 social housing units while improving public spaces and quality of life. This is why a peer-to-peer session also with the network of our Dutch member, Aedes vereniging van woningcorporaties was more than needed. We wanted to hear shared experiences and best practices for revitalising older housing estates with a focus on community involvement and green spaces. More details on who, what, when, and why will follow. 

This workshop was part of the World Garden Cities conference. Here you can look back at the full program and here you can stream the presentations of day 1 and see impressions of day 2

World Garden Cities Conference 2024