SOCIALLY HEALTHY, Livable, Innovative, huMan-oriented

Project info

Project info

Title: The Compass of Healthy Smart Neighborhoods. A framework for the (re)development of a healthy and inclusive neighborhood
Theme: Social Living
Duration: 09-2018 – 09-2022
Contact person: Masi Mohammadi
Leading partner: Chair Smart Architectural Technologies, TU/e
Subsidy provider:

call Create Space for Health (project number 5310013191)

Designing healthy smart neighborhoods

When designing a SLIM neighborhood for (vulnerable) senior target groups, the central focus is on how the layout of the neighborhood can best support and encourage seniors. In the subproject ‘Healthy Smart Neighborhoods’ – also known as “GELIJK” – research was conducted to examine if and how the spatial design can contribute to reducing socio-economic health disparities.

The way in which people experience the physically designed space and the effect of this space on human health are fundamentally important for the social determinants of health. The effects of the (re)design of the living environment on social health, active participation in society, and social interactions form the core of the “GELIJK” subproject (2018-2022). In the “GELIJK” project, a guide has been developed with and for residents with a low socio-economic status for the (re)design of a neighborhood that encourages equal opportunities for participation for all residents. The aim is to reduce socio-economic health disparities through this initiative.

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has set a mission that by 2040, all Dutch citizens will live at least five years longer in good health, and that the health disparities between the lowest and highest socioeconomic groups will have decreased by 30%. People with a low socio-economic status therefore benefit from a health-promoting living environment. More specifically, the “GELIJK” project addressed social health. Seniors (with a low socio-economic status) are more likely to experience feelings of loneliness. The project therefore focused on developing socio-spatial solutions aimed at stimulating interaction within the residential area.

The aim of “GELIJK” is to develop, with and for residents with a low socio-economic status, a guide for the (re)design of a neighbourhood that stimulates equal opportunities for participation for all residents.

Below you can find the results and products of the subproject “GELIJK”.


The management summary summarises the results, conclusions and recommendations of the “GELIJK” project in a clear manner.

The knowledge agenda of “GELIJK” is the scientific product resulting from a broad stakeholder study and research into influencing factors for the development of Healthy Smart Neighborhoods using the Empathic Design Framework.

The ‘Compass’ provides design and realisation guidelines for designing a smart neighbourhood that promotes social health for vulnerable people where meeting is central. This practical instrument is intended for professionals in the spatial domain in a multi-stakeholder collaboration.

The book‘Het Zilveren Kompas’ provides an overview of design variations to realize a SLIH neighborhood that promotes social health.
Expected: March 2023

The book ‘Ruimte voor GELIJKheid’ focuses on raising awareness among spatial professionals that complex design processes, such as designing a neighborhood, involve various different aspects.

Scientific articles & professional publications

What actually is a smart neighborhood? This article discusses this phenomenon.

Mohammadi, M. (2019). ‘Een slimme woonwijk voor gezonder leven’. Geron, year 2019, Volume: 21, Edition: 3.

Spatial design can facilitate and encourage spontaneous social interaction in public outdoor spaces. This article provides insights into the prerequisites for such a design.

Van Buuren, L.P.G., Wilmont, I., & Mohammadi, M. (2022). Design requirements for spontaneous encounters in semi-public space of social housing neighborhoods: an applied study using Group Model Building and preference tests among a mix of stakeholders (Working title, expected completion in 2022)

Under review

A well-fitting home is of great importance for healthy aging. This article provides an overview and clustering of housing options for independently living seniors in the Netherlands.

Van Buuren, L.P.G., Hamers, K., Moor, N. & Mohammadi, M. (2022). Novel housing typology categorization based on multiple layers of independently living seniors (werktitel, beoogde afronding in 2022)

Under review

How does a smart healthy neighborhood come about through local policy? This article discusses this phenomenon.

Mourits, K. & De Maeijer, E. (11 July 2022). Environment Act coming soon: how does health fit into local spatial policy? In Social issues. Retrieved from


Research team Masi Mohammadi (TU/e)
Ir. Leonie van Buuren PDEng (TU/e)
Ir. Sophie Peters (TU/e)
Prof.dr. Inge Bongers (TiU)
Dr. Els De Maeijer (TiU)
Drs. Astrid Huijgen (TiU)

Thanks to: dr. Hilde Spitters (TiU), dr. Ivo Maathuis (HAN), dr. Ilona Wilmont (HAN), dr. Wanda Kruijt (VLAM)