Thursday, 22 December 2016

What makes an eco-town?

The government has had the idea of putting together some 'eco-towns':
Futures Forum: Garden cities and greenfield sites
Exeter and Taunton could double in size to ease Britain's housing shortage | Western Morning News

East Devon has tried putting together an 'eco-town':
Futures Forum: Cranbrook: an 'eco-town' no more
Futures Forum: Cranbrook: What's the difference between a housing estate and an eco newtown?

The Design Council has got some straightforward guidance on the matter.
Although produced in 2008 for a government initiative, it remains aspirational for today:

What makes an eco-town?

Inside you will find

  • Explanation of sustainability
  • Information about eco-towns
  • Ways to reduce environmental impact
  • Masterplanning issues with eco-towns
  • Appendix

This will interest

  • Sustainable designers
  • Developers
  • Local authorities
  • Agencies involved in eco-town proposals
This guide, produced jointly by the BioRegional Development Group and CABE, offers timely advice to the agencies involved in developing proposals for England’s eco-towns.
Drawing on BioRegional’s work on building sustainable settlements, and CABE’s understanding of what it takes to create workable and sustainable places, What makes an eco town? challenges the eco-town proposers to be as ambitious as they can. It sets out clear sustainability criteria against which the proposers can judge their plans, and offers ways to monitor progress.
The report is inspired by the government-appointed eco-towns advisory panel, as well as by BioRegional’s ‘one planet living’ approach. 

What makes an eco-town? | Design Council

The 'list' of what makes an eco-town looks very interesting some years on:

The standards eco-towns should meet include the following as set out in the 'draft Planning Policy Statement: eco-towns':[6]
  • Affordable housing: a minimum of 30% affordable housing in each eco-town
  • Zero-carbon: eco-towns must be zero-carbon over the course of a year (not including transport emissions)
  • Green space: a minimum of 40% of eco-towns must be greenspace
  • Waste and recycling: eco-towns must have higher recycling rates and make use of waste in new ways
  • Homes: homes must reach Code for Sustainable Homes level 4 or higher (surprisingly not the highest standard available, casting doubt on the credibility of these requirements)
  • Employment: at least one job opportunity per house accessible by public transport, walking or cycling (although the standards are silent on how housing developers might guarantee this and it is largely discredited in the current economic crisis)
  • Services: there must be shops and a primary school within easy walk of every single home, and all the services expected from a town of up to 20,000 homes
  • Transition/construction: facilities should be in place before and during construction
  • Public transport: real-time public transport information in every home, a public transport link within ten minutes walk of every home
  • Community: there must be a mixture of housing types and densities, and residents must have a say in how their town is run, by governance in new and innovative ways.
There are further standards on water, biodiversity and other issues.
There is a short video about the standards.[9]
The standards are subject to consultation and may therefore change.

Eco-towns - Wikipedia

With a BBC Schools webpage giving some more overview:

Case study: Whitehill Bordon (Ecotown), UK

In 2009 the UK Government named four towns as 'ecotowns'. The towns receive some government funding and are granted ecotown status on the basis of the potential for achieving a high level of sustainability. The government funding aims to provide:
  • > affordable housing
  • > sustainable living
  • > carbon neutral developments
  • > creative use of waste and high rates of recycling
  • > employment that is local
  • > locals have a say in the development
  • > local services and schools, so less demand for use of cars
Whitehill Bordon is one example of an ecotown and was given the status in 2009.

The development of the ecotown

  • > Around £10 million was given by the government. This money funded many local projects.
  • > MOD land (a brownfield site) will be converted into an exhibition house informing residents about how low carbon living can work. The grounds will be designed to encourage local wildlife and grow food.
  • > Energy-saving measures have been started in public buildings. The redeveloped fire station is to have a biomass boiler.
  • > Free wi-fi in the town centre will enable communities to join together.
  • > Free loft insulation is given to householders to help save energy.
  • > Over 50 green spaces around and within the town are identified to protect and enhance wildlife. A boardwalk, made from recycled materials is being built.
  • > Eco-grants are available to local businesses to help reduce their carbon footprint.
  • > The initiative hopes to create 5,500 jobs by 2028.
  • > There is a strong link with the community - with local consultations and representatives.
Whitehall-Bordon, an ecotown in East Hampshire
An article on the Whitehall Bordon ecotown in East Hampshire

Case study: Masdar City (a sustainably planned city), Abu Dhabi

Ariel view of proposed Masdar City masterplans
Ariel view of proposed Masdar City masterplan Credit: Masdar City
Buildings at Masdar City Institute
View of the buildings at Masdar City Institute Credit: Masdar City
Masdar City aims to be one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments powered by renewable energy. It aims to do this by:
  • > Ensuring a low carbon footprint during and after its construction.
  • > Being completely powered by renewable energy.
  • > Reducing waste to as near to zero as possible, through encouraging changes in behaviour and regulating materials which can be present in the city.
  • > Leading research and education into sustainable technology.
  • > Designing the city streets and buildings to help create comfortable environments reducing the need for air conditioning, heating, and artificial light.
  • > Educating three quarters of the 40,000 residents with 5 hours of sustainability education each year.
  • > Leading research at its university to ensure the city retains its sustainable identification and leading knowledge in sustainable living.
  • > Full pedestrianisation within the city, without vehicles in the space. The transport network would be below ground.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

  1. Back
  2. Next

BBC - GCSE Bitesize: Case study: Whitehill Bordon (Ecotown), UK

Perhaps the compulsory five hours of 'sustainability education' does not appeal:
Masdar City - Wikipedia

And only Bicester made it as an eco town:
Futures Forum: Green cities, garden cities @ Radio 4

However, as far as putting together a Neighbourhood Plan goes, this might be very useful...
Futures Forum: Neighbourhood Plan: New survey for the Valley's youth >>> 'First taste of democracy in action for Sid Valley youngsters'

No comments: