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NEB or when sustainability, beauty and inclusivity take over the neighbourhood

Through its objectives and expected results, drOp can also be considered a demonstration case of the New European Bauhaus, which is why it was selected as an example in one of the latest reports published under the European Committee of the Regions. NEB is an initiative designed with the purpose of bringing the European Green Deal and its transition towards climate neutrality. What does it mean in practice? It is about a movement being created to influence our societies from the perspectives of sustainability, aesthetics and inclusiveness.

Neighbourhoods have a life of their own. This is why to make a reality the changes that everyone talks about, whether it is becoming more inclusive or implementing a fair transition, the process needs to start at this level and involve all the actors in it. While there must be a large wave to notice the impact, projects like drOp are playing their part.

Its first and foremost mission is to demonstrate how could the Affordable Housing Initiative work in practice. For that purpose, drOp will develop an Integrated Renovation Methodology (IRM), based on the Ermua case study, with replications foreseen in Elva and Matera, and beyond. Its purpose will be to transform social housing districts into inclusive smart neighbourhoods.

How does drOp fit in this framework? Since its main ambition is to achieve district regeneration, the IRM targets the following elements at neighbourhood level: social innovation, local economic development and the peer-learning method.

Even though by the end of the project the actual renovation works phase will not have been reached, the IRM will be developed to cover a retrofit intervention, and to offer necessary guidelines to transform the existing buildings into accessible, beautiful, and sustainable ones. Energy efficiency will be the main driver, with the aim to rely on the use of renewable energy. At the same time citizens will be empowered to become involved in the decision-making process related to home energy consumption and comfort, encouraging them to reduce their environmental and resources footprint.

A place where culture and creativity are present and available for anyone who is interested, cannot be anything but ‘beautiful’. Thanks to the expertise of Matera, former European Capital of Culture, cultural and creative industries will be significantly developed at the neighbourhood level, which will positively impact the local economic activities. 

All this will be possible through the implementation of the co-creation principle, in order to strengthen social cohesion and design new ways of living together, with the ultimate purpose of achieving inclusiveness and leaving no one behind. Given the demographics of the Santa Ana neighbourhood, the focus will be more on the elderly population. From a concrete point of view, digitalisation will play a key role. The expert in this area of the project is Elva, a city in Estonia where citizens already can use a range of digital tools when it comes to administrative matters.

All the dimensions mentioned above are closely intertwined, demonstrating a transdisciplinary approach. drOp is a project being developed at local level, but thanks to its three very different pilots (Ermua, Elva, and Matera), it will aim to be replicable and create real change. Stay with us to see what concrete solutions our partners will come up with!

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