The future of countryside living

Integrating the transition towards nature inclusive agriculture with the development of new countryside homes

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A decades long process of replacing biodiverse landscapes with agricultural monocultures has led to a significant drop in biodiversity in the Netherlands. The current agricultural landscape offers limited habitats for animals and insects and lacks resilience to cope with the effects of climate change. A strong departure from the current system is required by adopting nature-inclusive agriculture which utilizes and protects biodiversity in and around the farm. At the same time, there is a structural shortage in housing stock. The problem is that the increased demand for housing and the need for nature-inclusive agriculture are competing issues, where one has to make way for the other. But what if the development for new homes could be integrated with the transition towards nature inclusive agriculture? There are clear indications that demand is changing towards more spacious homes in natural environments. To build homes with the future agricultural landscape, they must be designed differently: in a nature inclusive way that facilitates biodiversity in and around the farm without reducing the current amount of food production. In addition, the integration of homes could enable the transition towards nature-inclusive agriculture, either by establishing a collective farm or by involving multiple partners. To conclude, a case study project is proposed in the Noordoostpolder, an area that is uniquely suited as a test ground for exploring the future of countryside living because it offers a relative central location and is highly adaptable and scalable.