Zelf is a Dutch word means self and bouw mean buildings, together zelfbouw means self-home built. Zelfbouw is one of an urban planning development process that has been growing recently in the Netherlands. Zelfbouw apparently happened a long time ago especially in the east and south of the Netherlands. However, due to the population growth together with the poverty issues in 1901 (Woningwet), the housing became a more and more to a public housing corporation. Furthermore, after the war in 1945, there were a huge demand for houses that made housing being produced in more quantity than quality. Nowadays, people have more and more income that make them be able to afford to built their own houses again. Particularly in the West, the new trend of Zelfbouw was started around 15-20 years ago and took a leap in the last ten years.


zelfbouw amsterdanGemeente Amsterdam



Existing of Zelfbouw that shows the influence in urban development can be seen clearly in Nieuw Layden, Leiden or Builksloterham and Houthavens, Amsterdam. In fact, Amsterdam Zelfbouw market has been growing rapidly in several years ago and containing a huge impact on urban development in the Netherlands.(Information can be seen from Amsterdam structural 2040)

What will happen if there are more and more Zelfbouw around the city?

According to the research, Airbnb has been contributing to the local economy and making Amsterdam stronger. More than 70% of people living in Amsterdam want to have some spaces left for guests. As the map shown, People who have individual houses use less Airbnb services. Or on the other hand, after the Zelfbouw, Airbnb could be more upgraded!

Will people change their habits?

It could be possible that people would rather be home earlier if their houses are fit to their lifestyle. And people will naturally, spend more time in the houses if their houses were designed for them.

final merge


The power of small scale.
Zelfbouw has proven itself from a development strategy. It controls housing productions and future of residences by giving an identity to the neighborhood. Full control over the design and constructions, however, controlled by a providing guideline from the projects.
Working together with the inhabitants are not only just leaving them designing their houses but also connecting details on every scale, from houses to communities towards planning. Having a space that created by its community will increase the value of both property itself and surrounding area. People furthermore, will have a feeling of involvement and responsibility in the area. Besides, this also shows the long-term sustainable quality and the new kind of openness to the dynamics of the city.


Zelfbouw on one hand seems to be a successful way to keep the city developed on a small scale. Because people get a chance to express their wishes and it is in fact using the same amount of time compares to others urban development projects. But on the other hand, not everyone would be living in their plots forever. Then, what would be the next step for the area and the next step for Amsterdam urban development? Will there be more diversity of users coming to the area? And will those people shape the city in a different perspective?
The fact that these Zelbouw projects could be another level of an architects communities that help young generations getting to know the old generations.

lifely communit


What about Albert Heijn?

If people having more spaces to produce their food and having a community to share this food in their neighborhoods, will this effect the Albert Heijn business? Or Albert Heijn could cooperate with locals create a new organic type of supermarket inside the neighborhoods.
Or people in the city might starting to act like living in the suburbs again.




Posted in zelfbouw (self home built).