From ideas to concrete: Perceptions of the built environment and ecological practices in the VINEX-location Leidsche Rijn, Utrecht.
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"This study investigates resident’s perception of the built environment of Leidsche Rijn, Utrecht, the largest VINEX-location in the Netherlands. The core idea of the spatial planning policy ‘VINEX’ (1991) was to increase the use of land within existing urban centres and to concentrate new development on land adjacent to the old built-up areas. Compact cities are considered a solution for cities to reduce the impact on the environment (Burton, Jenks, and Williams 1996). However, the construction industry in the Netherlands has an intense environmental impact on biodiversity loss, air pollution, waste production and material extraction (Ministerie van Algemene Zaken 2016). In recent decades, there has been a growing anthropological interest in architecture, spatial planning, and the built environment’s materiality (Buchli 2013). In the case of VINEX-locations, spatial planning emerges as an ideology and as a practice that shapes space, meanings and identities (Humprey 2005). Through participant observation, interviews, walks and photo-elicitation, I engaged with residents and organisations’ members to learn their perspectives on the spatially planned built environment of Leidsche Rijn. Depending on their positionality, participants attribute different meanings to sustainability, construction industry, housing needs, and community bounding in Leidsche Rijn. "