3D-printed housing, experimental communities, ‘living labs’: barely a month goes by without news of innovation in the Dutch city. But are there downsides?

Like a patissier guiding a giant icing nozzle, Theo Salet builds up layer upon layer of greyish goop. He’s not making a cake, though – this Eindhoven University of Technology professor is perfecting a technique to build the world’s first concrete 3D-printed home.

It seems barely a month goes by without news of an urban innovation in the Dutch city. From Salet’s 3D-printed housing scheme of five Stonehenge-like houses, to the creation of the Brainport “smart district” to test technology and community initiatives, to a “living lab” of cameras, lights and microphones for crowd experiments on the popular nightlife street Stratumseind, Eindhoven wants to be a place where the future is already on trial.

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