How do you work on Vlaardingen’s housing market?
“Just after the war, they built a great number of homes here to accommodate people who worked at Shell, Romi or other factories. Those homes were very cutting-edge at the time. Unfortunately, they have now become dated and are, therefore, in need of renovation. Furthermore, there is hardly any variety in the housing supply: 45 percent consists of mainly small, social housing apartments, nine percent consists of private rental homes and 46 percent consists of owner-occupied homes.
In some parts of Vlaardingen, for instance the Zuidbuurt in the Westwijk, social housing accounts for nearly eighty percent of the housing supply. Many residents are affected by poverty and other problems. Still, if I ask them if they want to move, they’ll tell me: No way girl, don’t be silly, I love living here!”
“So, beside better and more sustainable homes for people with modest means, Vlaardingen needs variety: various living environments, with homes in different price ranges. This way, we can stimulate people to move within our municipality and attract affluent people from out of town. We do have some catching up to do if we want to achieve more balance, like 35 percent social housing, 15 percent mid-priced rental housing and five percent owner-occupied homes.
Before I became alderman, and when I was a member of the council of Leefbaar Vlaardingen, I worked on a Housing action plan together with aldermen, corporations and other stakeholders. Our mission was ‘a balanced city’. Now, we also focus on ‘balanced neighbourhoods’, such as Westwijk, which is one of the seven residential areas in the Netherlands which has been selected for Panorama Lokaal. This is a national design contest organised by Atelier Rijksbouwmeester to give a positive boost to residential and peripheral areas.”