Den Haag, Netherlands
City population: 488605
Duration: 2016 – 2017
Implementation status: Completed
Scale: Micro-scale: District/neighbourhood level
Project area: unknown
Type of area: Residential
Last updated: November 2021

'Groene Mient' (Green Commons) is a citizen initiative that realized an exceptional social-ecological residential project consisting of three housing buildings of energy neutral homes and a 3,500 m2 communal garden (1,6). Storm water is captured from the roofs of the buildings into bioswales, permeable paving is applied, the shared garden is 'eatable' and houses run on sustainable energy (1). The houses do not have a gas connection and have three different sustainable energy systems: heat pump with heat-cold storage, solar boiler or electric heating (6).

The Green Commons (2017)
Photographer: Cornelie Quist (Groene Mient), retrieved 08/17/2018


Nature-based solution

  • Parks and urban forests
  • Pocket parks/neighbourhood green spaces
  • Community gardens and allotments
  • Community gardens
  • Green areas for water management
  • Swales and filter strips
  • Other

Key challenges

  • Water management (SDG 6)
  • Stormwater and rainfall management and storage
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Green space creation and/or management
  • Regeneration, land-use and urban development
  • Regulation of built environment
  • Promote natural styles of landscape design for urban development
  • Inclusive and effective governance (SDG 16)
  • Inclusive governance
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Social cohesion
  • Sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12)
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Sustainable production


Creation of new green areas, Creation of semi-natural blue areas

Project objectives

1. Realize a special socially ecological housing project with the creation of a sustainable climate-neutral neighbourhood along with the following key principles: - social diversity and room for individuality, - living together in solidarity by creating a community in which citizens treat each other with each other, take care of each other and live together - ecologically responsible living by means of stormwater retention and sustainable houses while remaining aesthetic value - affordable, accessible and flexible living 2. Creation of an open living community, where the central values ​​prevail of living together in friendship and respect, caring for each other and the neighbourhood, and dealing responsibly with energy, raw materials and food (1) 3. Reach self-sufficiency regarding energy use on the scale of the neighbourhood (1)

Implementation activities

- Building of 33 sustainable houses in three blocks (1). - Creating a community garden based on permaculture principles (taking care of the earth and equal sharing) for citizens of the sustainable neighbourhood with fruit and blossom trees and insect hotels (1,3). - Creating bioswales in the garden in which stormwater from the houses can flow and in which the water slowly infiltrates into the soil or drains to the nearby water stream (1-3). - Apply permeable paving on the parking area and walking paths as much as possible for stormwater retention (1). - Reuse materials from the former school building that was located on the area for the construction of the houses and the community garden and use natural materials for the garden as much as possible (1). - Organise activities such as workshops and working in the community garden (1).

Main beneficiaries

  • Citizens or community groups


Management set-up

  • Led by non-government actors

Type of initiating organisation

  • Citizens or community group

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Co-planning (e.g. stakeholder workshops, focus groups, participatory mapping)
  • Crowd-sourcing/Crowd-funding/Participatory budget
  • Taskforce groups
  • Dissemination of information and education
  • Consultation (e.g. workshop, surveys, community meetings, town halls)
  • Joint implementation (e.g. tree planting)
  • Co-management/Joint management
  • Citizen oversight (e.g. boards, advisory)

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The project is completely managed by 33 citizens who are organized into a citizen association 'Groene Mient' (Green Meadow) acting as a Collective Private Client (CPO) that consists of four 'working groups' (construction, collective space, finance and law and communication). The members are all obligated to dedicate at least half a day a week to the project and they realize the project in 'Collectief Particulier Opdrachtgeverschap' (Collective Private Commissioning). This means that citizens are the developers and are responsible for all risks themselves (1). The community group bought the land and made an agreement with the municipality which made them responsible for everything including sewage system, street lighting and maintenance (3). The community group hired architects and a building company to design and create the houses. The garden design was provided by PUUR permaculture which guided the group of future residents of Groene Mient in the process towards a design for the 3500m2 communal garden (5) The Hoogheemraadschap Delfland (regional water body) financed the bioswales (3).

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? No
... a national policy or strategy? No
... a local policy or strategy? No


Total cost


Source(s) of funding

  • Public regional budget
  • Crowdfunding

Type of funding

  • Direct funding (grants, subsidies, or self-financed projects by private entities)
  • Other

Non-financial contribution

Type of non-financial contribution
  • Provision of labour
  • Provision of expertise
Who provided the non-financial contribution?
  • Citizens (e.g. volunteering)

Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Climate change
  • Strengthened capacity to address climate hazards/natural disasters
  • Water management and blue areas
  • Improved stormwater management
  • Green space and habitat
  • Promotion of naturalistic styles of landscape design for urban development
  • Increased green space area
  • Enhanced support of pollination

Economic impacts

  • Unknown

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Social justice and cohesion
  • Improved social cohesion
  • Increased involvement of locals in the management of green spaces
  • Increased access to healthy/affordable food

Type of reported impacts

Expected impacts, Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting

No evidence in public records

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

No evidence in public records

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records


Garden Work at the Green Commons (2017)
Photographer: Cornelie Quist (Groene Mient), retrieved 08/17/2018
The Green Commons (2018)
Photographer: Cornelie Quist (Groene Mient), retrieved 08/17/2018