Changing lifestyles invite us to entirely rethink how we design, develop and manage collective housing. The ambition of Ecofaubourgs® is to keep pace with these changes, while also striking the right balance between personal well-being, social life and sustainable resource management. Far from viewing housing merely as built space, they give their occupants the possibility to adopt a simpler and more environmentally friendly lifestyle without imposing restrictions or compromising on comfort.
The Ecofaubourgs® approach is deliberately holistic and transdisciplinary. Developed with the aid of the HSLU Lucerne and the ETH Zurich, it regards habitat as a space in which identity and subjectivity can express themselves and as a place where social relationships can flourish. Therefore, it does not stop at selecting and implementing the most efficient construction techniques, but also takes into account residents’ lifestyles and how they use the buildings.
Watch the video to find out more about Ecofaubourgs (in French) :
Health : a fundamental
Living in an Ecofaubourg® is a guarantee of a healthy environment. The building materials are selected for their non-toxicity, and there are common and outdoor areas to encourage physical activity.
Why own your own vehicle when you can make use of a transport service? Why arrange your own spare bedroom when your building has a fully furnished guest flat?
Ecofaubourgs® provides housing with a full range of associated services to enable users to combine an economical use of resources (financial, natural) with more comfortable living.
Ecofaubourgs® allocate a ‘facilitator’ to each scheme in order to keep pace with changing use and lifestyles.
The role of this facilitator is to help users find out about and make use of services and to give advice and active assistance to those who request it, as well as to mobilise local stakeholders involved with the Ecofaubourgs® and work with them to make the site an exciting place to live.
An opportunity for
Any council seeking to marry urban development with sustainability will find Ecofaubourgs® a dynamic and attractive prospect.
They are deliberately built to be dense but are equipped with gardens and a variety of areas where people can meet. They respond to a growing need for collective housing, while also offering the people who live in them all the advantages of an individual house. They are open to the outside world and stimulate neighbourhood life. They aim to strike a balance between personal space and areas for social life, and thus encourage people to meet their neighbours while at the same time respecting their privacy. Designed in consultation with local authorities to ensure they can satisfy local needs, they complement the range of municipal facilities and services on offer and thus help to keep or create local jobs.
All of these reasons make Ecofaubourgs® a first-choice partner for any local authority that wishes to bring positive change to their area.
A method of designing and
monitoring housing schemes
It takes great rigour to meet residents’ needs in an innovative way while also keeping costs down. That is why Ecofaubourgs® has come up with its own designing, planning and monitoring methodology to direct the implementation of each scheme.
This methodology was developed jointly with the HSLU (Lucerne) and Wohnforum (ETH de Zurich) and defines a number of sustainability criteria as well as translating the Ecofaubourgs® vision into a set of design guidelines. The methodology also specifies how each scheme is to be steered, monitored and evaluated. It is this comprehensive approach that enables Ecofaubourgs® to develop housing schemes that are as profitable as they are innovative. By linking technical specifications to sustainability and urban sociology, it aims to optimise resource management and encourage residents to appropriate the scheme and its services, while also making sure that the scheme will be profitable.
A positive impact on costs
The design and monitoring approach used by Ecofaubourgs® significantly increases a scheme’s profitability. The approach is based on a long-term vision that takes account of the buildings’ whole lifecycle and thereby limits the amount of maintenance they require. At the same time, the attention paid to residents’ well-being optimises the rate and length of occupancy.
Achievements and projects
Futura Ecofaubourgs® is a pilot programme of 94 housing units, ranging from studios to five rooms, located in Schlieren, in the canton of Zurich (Switzerland). Delivered in 2014, it is the first Swiss 100% renewable energy programme for heating and hot water, thanks to the heating network set up by the city.
This set of three buildings was designed as part of a joint research programme with HSLU (Lucerne) and Wohnforum (ETH de Zurich). Built in the immediate vicinity of public transport and shops, Futura Ecofaubourgs® offers a high level of environmental performance, thanks in particular to its range of services and equipment. It offers its tenants:
mobility solutions for getting around: on-site car and bike-sharing stations, accessible from an Internet platform
a nursery for residents and residents of the neighbourhood
common areas to meet: garden plots managed by the Swiss Federation of allotment gardens, shop where you can buy local products, laundry rooms, common room, guest flat…
To encourage its residents to take full advantage of this offer, Futura Ecofaubourgs® banked on innovation: For one year, the residence hosted a coach dedicated to information and entertainment. The on-site presence of the coach led to the organisation of numerous events (dinners, exhibitions, get-togethers, birthday parties, baby showers, etc.), and has had a decisive impact both on the relationship between the occupants and on the image of the programme.
Village du Parc
In the heart of the certified eco-district of Clause-Bois Badeau in Brétigny-sur-Orge (France, 91), HKA Finance signed with Atelier du Pont (link) for a programme of 43 housing units mixing small flats and terraced houses with a vegetable garden.
In order to support the delivery of Village du Parc and to make residents aware of the environmental aspirations of the eco-district, a facilitator was assigned on site for a period of five months. Between being a personalised “helping hand” and organiser of themed workshops (discovery of the eco-neighbourhood, waste management, gardening, etc.), this support constituted a real innovation in the promotion sector, extending the missions of the property developer far beyond the construction and marketing of housing.
Project Team : Ecofaubourgs®, Archi5, Atelier Georges, REI, Coloco, Franck Boutté, Marie Dehaene, Bio, Sidièse, EVP, Terre de Liens, Bergers urbains
As part of the Réinventer Paris call for projects, HKA-Ecofaubourgs®, the contracting authority, selected Archi5 to design a wooden building with 32 flats. This included hybrid housing (shared and guest flats), business and social facilities (workshops, offices, common room, etc.) and outdoor spaces including collective gardens and an urban sheepfold of 50m2.
As a continuation of the Futura-Ecofaubourgs pilot programme, the programme provides for the presence of a coach dedicated to the coordination of usage, and a self-service transport service (car-sharing, bike-sharing). Another innovation: the legal set-up of the operation, intended to guarantee access to housing for middle classes finding it difficult to settle in Paris.
At the ZAC Dumont d’Urville, the heart of a vast programme to refurbish the docklands of Le Havre, HKA and François Scali designed a project for a residential community housed in a wooden tower.
All the flats are modular, based on the APARTAM © construction principle.
The result of close collaboration between universities, colleges and real estate professionals, Ecofaubourgs® was initiated by HKA Finance, a Franco-Swiss property developer specialised in financing, designing, developing and selling housing. Since 1991, HKA Finance has obtained more than 100 construction permits and built 3,500 housing units.
During its meetings with investors, local authorities and clients, the HKA team learnt how to ask different questions, such as: What criteria determine a person’s choice of housing? Why do people want to live in a town or city? What are the consequences of a booming population and climate change for collective housing? How do you respond to residents’ needs (particularly for mobility) while also managing resources more sustainably?In 2006, as climate change and the energy crisis led local authorities to look at new development models and made the case for stricter standards and labels, HKA Finance realised that we needed to change the very way in which we design and manage housing. With the help of the HSLU (Lucerne) and Wohnforum (ETH de Zurich), the property developer created Ecofaubourgs®. Its aim was to accompany the emergence of modes of usage and consumption by linking housing to a range of free-choice services and to enable city-dwellers to combine quality of life with greater responsibility.
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