Implementation strategies for climate change adaptation measures in Dutch social housing


  • Martin Roders TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Ad Straub TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment


adaptation, climate change, construction process, policy development, social housing


Housing managers are constantly confronted with the changing demands and requirements that their building stock must meet. One aspect of this is the changing climate, which is caused primarily by greenhouse gases produced by human activities. Even if the emissions of all these gases could now somehow be put on hold, the process of climate change could not be, and the effects of climate change would most probably continue to be felt for many more years. In urban areas, these effects include drought, flooding caused by extreme precipitation and heat stress caused by the urban heat island effect. In addition to threatening the building stock, climate change is also threatening the quality of life of people in urban environments. In the Netherlands, housing associations are responsible for managing the social housing stock and maintaining the quality of life of those that live there. However, research has shown that they are not yet sufficiently aware of the challenge that lies ahead in adapting their dwellings to a changing climate. In view of the focus on the physical adaptations of the building stock, it was chosen to discuss in this paper the effectiveness of three types of conceptual approaches for governance that housing associations could apply directly in their maintenance processes. The conceptual approaches are hypothesised based on the results of earlier research on the implementation of climate change adaptations in social housing. The conceptual approaches are: CA1) incorporate climate adaptation into the policy that guides the overall management of their stock; CA2) involve actors that traditionally do not play a role in the construction process, such as insurance companies and water boards; CA3) emphasise performance-based procurement to encourage the execution of projects using a partnering approach. The effectiveness of these conceptual approaches was tested using a SWOT analysis for each approach, which was discussed with practitioners. The results are five implementation strategies, based on the combinations of conceptual approaches that are potentially feasible for the implementation of climate change adaptation measures in the Dutch social housing stock. One crucial factor in these implementation strategies is collaboration, because these days no housing association is financially able to assume responsibility for climate-proofing its housing stock on its own.