Thinking outside the box to solve room shortage issues

A well visited brainstorming session of the municipality of Eindhoven on Tuesday evening has yielded a lot of ideas to tackle the shortage of student housing in the city. At The Hub on the Vestdijk, students, various interest groups and people from the municipality came together to think about solutions for the short term and medium term. The most creative idea must have been the creation of floating residential units on the many waterways that Eindhoven has.

photo Ryan McGuire / Gratisography

Taking into account the internationals in Eindhoven, it was a bilingual session. Eva de Bruijn (TU/e alumna and council member for GroenLinks) and Tom Brouwers (council member for D66) led the evening and initiated the debate. The reason for this is clear: the housing shortage is dire and currently the city has a shortage of about twelve hundred student units.

"In the next five years there will be an expected demand for 3886 rooms, while the expected amount of rooms to be built is 254. Conclusion: we are heading for a shortage," says Berend Jan Brijder, Program Leader Living at the municipality. A small side note: this concerns units specifically for students; there are of course also students who rent a room or studio outside this offer.

The seven measures that alderman Yasin Torunoglu presented to the press last week, were again briefly explained to give all visitors an idea of ​​the plan of action so far. Then there was room to brainstorm with the people at your table about all the wishes and ideas for the short-term solutions, which have to take effect before the start of the next academic year. After a short break, everyone was invited to also think about the medium term, which concerned solutions for 2021.

From landlady to houseboat

The pitches at the end of the evening by all team captains nicely summarized the different ideas. In the short term, the following ideas were popular: raising awareness among (older) singles who now live in a relatively large house alone with empty rooms to rent one out to a student, bringing back the space boxes and making empty buildings like the old V&D building, habitable.

Read on below the photo.

For the medium term, various ideas were suggested: building rooms in the urban area around Eindhoven, making the licensing process easier for couples who want to rent out a room to help a student, and inviting neighbors to think along about the design and occupation of student neighborhoods to get a strong community, rich in diversity. The most creative out of the box idea was that of creating floating student units on the waters in and around Eindhoven. They could also easily be moved if necessary.

The students were not all equally enthusiastic about a room in the urban area around Eindhoven, because that entails too much traveling distance and costs. They don’t see themselves biking to Helmond Brandevoort after a night of clubbing at Stratumseind. It would also create a barrier to participate in activities that are often organized on campus and in the city center.

However, some students did see opportunities for a room in the urban area as long as it remains within a reasonable cycling distance (20 to 25 minutes maximum) from the campus. The question was also asked why so many expensive independent studios are being built - while many students mainly need an affordable room and wouldn’t mind to share the kitchen and/or bathroom. Then more student units can be created on the same number of square meters - something to be included in the future building plans.

The many employees of the municipality responded positively to all the ideas that the visitors of the brainstorming session have suggested. They will be used as inspiration for the solutions for coming academic year and the plans for cohort '20/21.

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