Radical programmes for developing the EU residential building sector

Mieke Oostra, Pekka Huovinen

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    The economic recession has hit especially hard the residential building sector in the EU region, e.g., the number of the housing completions has decreased -49% and the total residential output has been squeezed down by -24% between 2007 and 2014 (Euroconstruct, 2015). In turn, the aim of our paper is to suggest a set of radical, novel programmes for developing the national residential building sectors within EU member countries up to 2025. We have applied the framework of strategic niche management (SNM) to the diagnoses of the current portfolios of the innovation, R&D programs in our two member country contexts. In the case of the Northern Finland, the prime example is Hiukkavaara, the largest district to be built in the City of Oulu. Homes will be constructed for 20,000 new residents. Hiukkavaara is a model for climate- conscious design in the northern hemisphere. Energy and materials are conserved, nature is valued and human beings adapt to their environment. One sub-programme involves Future Buildings and Renewable Energy Project. In the case of the Netherlands, the prime example is Energiesprong (Energy Leap), i.e., the innovation programme commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior. The aim is to make buildings energy-neutral and boost large-scale initiatives. The sub-programmes are targeting homes owned by housing associations, privately owned homes, office buildings, shops and care institutions. This programme is about ensuring new supply by encouraging companies to package a variety of technical sub-solutions, full services and financing options as well as about asking clients to put out tenders and ask for quotes in novel ways, with the government making changes to the rules and the regulations. Experiences on which the Dutch case in this paper focuses are sub-programmes for residential buildings, which include de Stroomversnelling, LALOG and Ons Huis Verdient Het. Based on the emerging Finnish and Dutch evidence, we are suggesting key elements to be incorporated into future national residential programmes within EU member countries on: (1) radical direction with balanced stakeholder groups, trustworthy advocates, contextual goal-setting and barriers management, (2) radical networking with entrepreneurial roles and causal links, novel expertise, transparent choices and digital platforms and (3) radical learning processes to arrive at better informed markets on user preferences, co-innovating, new rules and regulations, higher performance/price ratios, higher quality, new roles and responsibilities assignments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    Event20th CIB World Building Congress (WBC) 2016: Intelligent built environment for life - Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Tampere, Finland
    Duration: 31 May 20163 Jun 2016
    Conference number: 20th


    Conference20th CIB World Building Congress (WBC) 2016
    Abbreviated titleWBC16
    Internet address


    • building sector
    • residential homes


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