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Ecotourism Australia

Design Charrette Themes

" Sustainable Design and Practice - Enhancing Sustainability"


COMMUNITY & CULTURE - Design Charrette Theme

Design Charrette Theme

[ Design Charrette Community & Culture Blog ]

Introduction – Community & Culture

“In many situations the local community is integral to the ecotourism products. The benefits of ecotourism should be distributed to the local community.” (Ecotourism Australia EcoCertification)

As Janis Birkeland summarises in Design for Sustainability, the built environment has traditionally derived from the design ‘of, for and by’ the industrial order, rather than ‘of, for and by’ its inhabitants. This has resulted in sub-optimal design: developments that do not capture the benefits arising from considering the cultural behaviours and general needs of the surrounding community. Today’s modern eco-development place greater emphasis on providing facilities that cater for the needs and cultural behaviours of the community while enriching lifestyles: they generate economic growth in the area through tourism, sourcing local employment, business transactions with local industry (e.g. demand for products such as food, locally-sourced materials; and services such as repairs and maintenance); they provide social opportunities for the community to interact; they educate the community on issues related to sustainability and eco-design; and are generally involved in activities involved in the local community beyond what is required to run the business.

Case study – An example of what is possible

An outstanding example of community – and culturally – sensitive urban development is the BedZED project. Located in London Borough of Sutton, The Beddington Zero-Energy Development (BedZED) is a compact mixed-use urban development comprising of 82 units and over 2500m2 of space for commercial and community facilities. The housing is a combination of one and two bedroom flats, maisonettes and town houses, and the workspaces are located such that commuting and car use is reduced or at best eliminated. Rental income from workspaces offsets the building costs associated with super-efficient design. Apart from producing no net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy use, BedZED meets range of targets:

  • Environmental – low-energy and renewable fuel, including biomass combined heat and power (CHP) and photovoltaics (PVs), water saving, reclaimed materials, Green Travel Plan, biodiversity measures, and private gardens for most units.

  • Social – mixed tenure, two-thirds affordable or social housing, lower fuel costs, healthy living centre, community facilities, sports pitch and ‘village square’, crèche, café.

  • Economic – locally sourced materials, workspace for local employment and enterprise, locally available renewable energy sources.

References: Case study summarised from Building Research Establishments BedZED Case Study, available on the bioregional website, reps.

Inputs of delegates on the theme of community & culture

Inputs of delegates on the theme of community & culture

Inputs of delegates on the theme of community & culture

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