These two projects consider distinctive (or characteristic) communities’ habitation in, and relationships to, London and outer London. Both are final year projects by Royal College of Art architecture graduates and were selected as winners of this year’s NLA / RCA Student Prize for Architecture.
Can the manipulation of the Green Belt boundary give spatial expression to UK food production and provision?
Can architecture deal with global sustainability by working for people who seek to reinvent how they live in urban environments through the growing culture of “eco-village”?
In January 2014, the sleepy village of Yalding on the outer edge of the Metropolitan Green Belt was leaked as one of the proposed sites for a new Garden City. Using a tactic of ‘green belt offsetting’, a site for the speculative new town of Great Yalding is provided on low-quality Green Belt land, whilst a stretch of vulnerable farmland is newly protected. At the boundary of these two conditions, a new market mediates between argicultural production and the new settlement, addressing attitudes of how food is farmed and sold, and its relationship to urban form and lifestyle choice.
an eco-village in a city
Aiming to simultaneously improve social and environmental aspects of sustainability, “eco-villages” – a small and “intentional” sustainable community – often occupy fertile land in a wasteful way, contradicting the community’s aspiration, and making it look rather utopian and irrelevant for people in urban sites. The project’s challenge is therefore to theoretically densify and integrate this community into the urban environment with much reduced footprint as an important and sustainable part of everyday lives within the capital. The design ideas all reflect on the research into various world ecovillages and personal experience following a two-week-long research stay in Findhorn, one of the oldest “eco-villages’.
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