North West Bicester is the one remaining live Eco-Town that has survived since New Labour originally announced the Eco-Towns programme in 2008 (down from a mooted 20 and a firm starting point of 10.) North West Bicester first phase is to be presented to planning in spring 2014, and is being designed to BioRegional’s One Planet Living’ Principles, with Zero Carbon housing. The website states that the first phase will feature allotments, fruit trees and landscape led play areas.
The Triangle, Swindon is TV Personality’s Kevin McCloud’s pitch at a ‘high quality sustainable development’ of forty-two homes. The Triangle applies BioRegional’s One Planet Living methodology to the housing, but as Mel Starrs points out in an interesting blog entry, it is by no means clear what sustainable code level has been attained.
Greenwich Millennium Village was a major showcase eco-district development planned alongside the Millennium Dome (now the 02) as part of the Millennium Communities Programme. The eco-district aimed to reduce primary energy use by 80% and has been gradually growing in the decade and half since the turn of the century, with, as of 2010 over 1100 flats and houses.
PortZED is a current ZedFactory project in collaboration with Alan Parker Architects, a zero carbon development in Shoreham, which received planning in December 2013. The Developers are Boho Green.
Svartlamon is a district in Norway’s second city, Trondheim. Squatted and lived in by a mixture of punks and alternative lifestyle greens, the Svartlamon community initiated an architectural programme in the early 2000’s involving local Trondheim architecture students, Geir Brendeland and Olav Kristofferson, to design a student housing block within the Svartlamon district.
The resulting Svartlamoen four-storey timber student-housing block became a highly popular and influential contemporary timber building in the late 2000’s within the international sustainable architecture world. The community has since continued with several further re-build projects, including a kindergarten built and designed within an old motor showroom http://www.bkark.no/projects/svartlamoen-nursery, a recording studio and flats for musicians to stay in while recording and a pioneering recycling culture education centre. More recently Husly, a house made completely from wood pallets, was completed. Further alternative housing projects continue this marriage of alt.culture and architectural adventurism.
For its advocates Svartlamon demonstrates the marriage of alternative culture and forward-looking architectural vision integrating the built environment in ways, which work with, rather than replacing local communities.