A sustainable community is one in which individuals live together harmoniously in a manner that protects and promotes the concept of eco-friendly sustainable living. It is a return to communitarian values, where each it’s citizens live together in a place that meets their needs and enhances their wellbeing without not endangering the lives of others or the environment around them.
These inclusive communities are often premised upon humanitarian principles and people live and work together to create and develop a safe, green, friendly, and prosperous environment to thrive in. Government policy, outlined in the Sustainable Communities Plan in 2003, supported the development of sustainable communities, in both urban and rural areas. The measures communities to be a way to address the housing crisis and protect and enhance the stunning British countryside.
This was slightly ambitious and a typical New-Labor policy, and little has to been done to review the future of sustainable communities and possible government involvement in more recent years. However, the extra investment into promoting more environmentally-aware communities did result in neighborhoods being set up across the UK.
There are many sustainable communities across the UK, including BedZED, Britain’s first large-scale community, completed in 2002 and built in South London suburbs. This housing development is designed to create zero carbon emissions, and it is the first of its kind, and residents report a fabulous sense of community and a higher quality of life. The Hockerton Housing Project in Hockerton, Nottinghamshire, is considered to be the first earth-sheltered self-sufficient housing development in the UK, and the project’s five house are considered to be amongst the most energy efficient in Europe.
Whilst residents own their properties, they are obligated to ensure that they work a number of paid hours per year for the benefit of the co-operative. In Europe, the Tamera eco-village in Portugal is perceived as being one of the best, with free love, vegan food, Wi-Fi and a low carbon footprint. Whereas, nestled in the alpine foothills of Italy, the eco-village of Damanhur has won awards from United Nations for being a model for a sustainable society. They celebrate life, in all of its forms, and have a deep respect for the environment around them, believing this to be a conscious, sensitive entity.
Coed Hills Rural Art space is a sustainable community that is situated in the Vale of Glamorgan, around 8 miles west of Cardiff. Residents living in the community live in railway carriages, Mongolian Yurts, log cabins and straw bailed buildings, and the whole site is run on alternative energy, including high-tech wind turbines and biomass underfloor heaters. Food is grown using permaculture techniques, and there is an 8-acre market garden and a 2-acred forest garden on site. This place is inspirational, and whether you are a budding botanist, or an experience eco-warrior, the use of permaculture techniques to produce all of their own food is sure to impress.
Coed, pronounced ‘coyd’ and meaning ‘wood’ in Welsh, Hill is a place that aims to combine creativity with sustainability, and many residents engage in expressing their creativity with the tools gifted to them by mother nature. There are also artistic workshops, in which the skilled residents of Coed Hills share their eco-logically friendly crafts and creations. Coed Hills is also available for private hire, providing the perfect setting for romantic weddings in the Welsh woodlands in their very own stone circle, premised upon the solar lunar calendar. This is an ideal Licensed Wedding Venue for Civil, humanist and outdoor weddings.
The community over at Coed Hills welcome visitor and love to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for the concept of sustainable living. They recognise the importance of ensuring that children and young people are aware of the importance of sustainability, providing workshops for schools, colleges and groups in the area. Reducing the carbon footprint should be a key of concern for any global citizen, and with the abundance of wisdom and guidance at Coed Hills, visitors can truly appreciate and learn how they can make a difference.
For more information regarding sustainable communities in the UK, check out Diggers and Dreamers: The Guide to Communal Living, this is a bi-annual journal that collates lot of information, issues and ideas related to this kind of living. Their website also includes noticeboards in which sustainable communities across the UK advertise if they are looking for members, a great place to look if you are thinking about committing to this full time.
With urbanization, global warming, climate change and the housing crisis in the UK, sustainable communities can provide a living solution that harmoniously co-exists with the world around them. They believe in principles of equality and justice, inclusion and a respect for life and creativity, with norms and values concerning the importance of the community that are reminiscent of years gone by. Furthermore, such communities are important educative tools, and they help to pass on their wisdom and knowledge and teach other people how to reduce their own carbon footprint.