The Readership (Dutch: Lectoraat) Strategic Creativity explores how design can contribute to innovation in society and the economy. In the project named ‘Stroompunt/Let’s Talk Water’ (2015-2017), two research associates, Alissa van Asseldonk and Renee Scheepers, work together with social housing tenants to create more sustainable uses of water and energy. The project is supervised by DAE reader (lector) dr. Bas Raijmakers.

This sustainability project is a collaboration between Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE), Waterschap De Dommel (Waterboard De Dommel) and Woonbedrijf (Eindhoven’s largest social housing corporation) and focuses on the use and waste of water and energy in- and around homes in Geestenberg – a neighbourhood in Eindhoven. Its location, between two railroads, gives it a V-shape. The area is built as one large block, existing out of smaller acreages with very few main roads, which gives a feeling of countryside that has entered the city.

Experts from all partners, with local residents, use their combined knowledge and creativity to create awareness and a change in behaviour to lower water and energy waste. Collaboration makes a difference, and has already been experienced through the various inspiration sessions and expeditions that took place. For example, an ‘excursion’ to one of the newly built sustainable sites (together with construction company Heijmans), showed a focus on incorporating sustainability in the building process as well as the life for the residents.  Or the trip to the water treatment plan which showed there is so much to gain in separating our garbage and changing the way we think about water.

An important aspect of the project is the ‘thinking-through-making’ approach Design Academy Eindhoven takes to design research. Reflection and creation go hand in hand, and ideas and prototypes are developed and tested as early as possible, generating success and failure straight away. Systematic, rigorous reflection directs the next step after deployment of ideas. By repeating this process several times, the design research makes its way to more applicable but also more imaginative and collaborative results.

Alissa and Renee applied this method within the neighborhood context. By organising small interventions to collect input and test prototypes the neighborhood is involved as a fourth partner.

The project by the research associates has a project blog in Dutch with an overview of the design research activities and its public events.

More information: http://projectstroompunt.nl/