Design for emptiness in Parkstad (Limburg- The Netherlands)

In the context of Parkstad Limburg (shrinking and ageing) city of Heerlen, as the centre of the region, is facing vacancy of buildings, many of which are in city centre. This contributes to the bad image and unsafe experience of the city.

imaxen Parkstad

In order to fight these negative consequences of vacancy, as well as to give (young) people opportunity to start up their own business Design for Emptiness competition is held every year. In this project entrepreneurs can apply for a location in the city centre and initial grant for their business.

Project is initiated by the municipality of Heerlen , in order to achieve optimal results, with partnership of NGO initiatives, university etc. Every year this project attracts many (young) entrepreneurs who see Heerlen as a good option for their business due to possibilities demographic transition offers.

At the same time, city benefits from economic and creative activity these people bring with them and the regeneration they contribute to in the city centre.

Available info in

Key questions:
  • How to attract young entrepreneurs to shrinking and depopulating areas?
  • How to deal with building vacancy?
  • Is population shrinkage an opportunity to build up new public-private partnerships and new bottom-up strategies?