5 eco-neighbourhoods to know about in Europe

Published by on 02.21.2019 - 3 min

How can the issues of sustainable development be integrated into territorial planning? From London to Fribourg and from Grenoble to Malmö, five eco-neighbourhood projects illustrate - through their diversity - that there are several ways to address this critical issue.

They combine innovative housing, smart resource management, recycling circuits and infrastructures dedicated to shared mobility. The numerous eco-neighbourhoods that have appeared across Europe over the last few years are all pursuing, each in their own way, a goal that is similar to that of the smart islands that Renault has contributed to creating. All of them promote energy transition and support sustainable development.

#1 BedZED

South of London

The English model

BedZEZ eco-neighbourhood (England)

The Beddington eco-neighbourhood was inaugurated in 2002 on the site of a former landfill in Sutton, a residential suburb south of London. This collection of 82 apartments is nicknamed BedZED, a shortening of Beddington Zero Energy Development. Its name refers to the goal set at the time of its creation: to design a building able to function totally without fossil fuels. Powered by photovoltaic panels, its occupants are housed behind triple-glazed windows and 50 cm thick walls made of natural insulation. Recognisable by their facades that blend wood cladding and red bricks, the BedZED buildings also offset greenhouse gases tied to human activities through their vast greenery-covered roofs. Even today, the eco-design concepts implemented by BedZED draw curious onlookers from around the world.

#2 Bo01


The sustainable city, Swedish-style

Eco-neighbourhood of Malmö (Sweden)

Malmö, the third largest city in Sweden, decided to take advantage of the former brownfields of Västra Hamne to build an eco-neighbourhood capable of standing out internationally. Created in 2001, the project gave rise to a European expo dedicated to the housing of the future and whose name was adopted by this green conversion: Bo01. The Malmö eco-neighbourhood, 100% powered by renewable energy sources, pays particular attention to the comfort of its inhabitants with large green spaces crisscrossed by bike paths and a network of electric buses that glide along silently.

#3 ZAC de Bonne


Eco-citizenship the French way

Grenoble and the Alps (France)

Launched in 2003 on 8.5 hectares of land and at the city of Grenoble’s initiative, the ZAC de Bonne’s eco-neighbourhood seeks to embody an answer to the environmental and social challenges of dense urban areas. Its low consumption buildings are powered by solar thermal panels and are made of more than 40% council housing, along with a school, a nursery, a cinema and a shopping centre. Each unit has an underground parking space, while outdoor car parks are kept to a minimum in order to encourage a reliance on communal solutions.

#4 Vauban


Large scale, short distances

Eco-neighbourhood of Vauban (Germany)

Located near Fribourg in Germany, the Vauban neighbourhood is home to more than 5,500 dwellings tucked into a sea of green trees. The buildings line up lengthwise, with single slope roofs facing south and covered in solar panels. At Vauban, travel by foot, bicycle or public transport is encouraged, but residents are also asked to participate in creating solutions that fit their daily lives. For example, a non-profit organisation was created in the early 2000s to manage a car sharing service for sporadic needs!

#5 Lombok


The path to vehicle to grid

Cyclist and ZOEs in Utrecht

The Lombok eco-neighbourhood in Utrecht in the Netherlands provides a taste of the role that the electric car will play in initiatives related to the smart city. Its inhabitants enjoy access to a car sharing service that consists of 150 Renault ZOEs whose batteries are charged by solar panels installed on neighbouring roofs. When maintaining the grid’s stability calls for it, these cars can also restore a part of the energy they are storing: that is the vehicle to grid principle, an important step in the optimisation of the way that energy is produced, distributed and consumed.

Copyrights: iStock, Kevin ENGELSMAN