Today, Den Dries already supports 120 people with an intellectual disability at its existing buildings on Bolwerkstraat. The buildings are 30 years old and are still innovative due to their location in an easily accessible residential area equipped with the necessary facilities. However, the buildings no longer meet other care needs. Therefore, Den Dries opted for a new construction project with a spatial organisation of the site and new buildings adapted to changing care needs, inspired by the principle of assisted and inclusive living.
Assisted and inclusive living ensures that those in need of care are part of the street scene by decentralising care and anchoring the accommodation in the urban fabric. The Den Dries campus follows the same principle: the neighbourhood is not brought to the campus, people with disabilities are part of the neighbourhood. Den Dries is building an open, accessible residential park as an integral part of the district. The residential site provides adapted housing for people with severe support needs and people with disabilities - based on the principle of diversified care – as well as for people without any care needs. In addition, the development will integrate urban facilities such as catering, medical services and a social kitchen, which will add value to the current neighbourhood. The residential project will be developed on existing open space. Den Dries chose to build on just 20% of this open space in order to invest in enough green space and slow connections. The routes and paths criss-crossing the site create opportunities for spontaneous encounters between passers-by, staff, residents and visitors to the site. Lastly, in its design for the new buildings Den Dries takes into account sustainable and flexible materials and housing typologies.
The development model of Den Dries is based on smart financing forms, in close cooperation with local partners and entrepreneurs. Den Dries vzw bought the piece of building land in the residential area 40 years ago and is working with a project developer to develop the site. The project has two different goals, to generate financial profit and create social added value. The project is partly financed by the project developer in exchange for the construction of apartments on other land owned by Den Dries vzw. In addition, the Flemish Agency for Persons with Disabilities (VAPH) co-financed the master plan, through the personal assistance budget from the Infrastructure Fund for Person-Related Matters (VIPA). Finally, the housing project was made possible by the Province of East Flanders through a project subsidy for experimental housing projects.
Den Dries vzw, Flemish Agency for Persons with Disabilities (VAPH), Province of East Flanders
financing, solidarity, cultural change
Luc Verbeke & Tim Bruylandt on the master plan (story 7 of 'Den Dries in 7 stories')
Den Dries vzw is building an inclusive residential site for people with and without disabilities. From January 2020, the actual implementation of the master plan will get underway, after a three-year thought and visualisation process.
photo: Den Dries vzw, Evergem 2021