“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker
LCNC is a model of living differently in London that aims to be socially, environmentally and financially sustainable.
Social sustainability promotes interdependence as a way of looking after the diverse needs and interests of an Intergenerational Housing Co-op that has both aging members and young families. The multistakeholder structure means that tenants, users of the community space and non-user investors are all included in decision making. LCNC will be based within a geographic community as an open and supportive neighbour.
LCNC’s community centre will provide space for local, regional and national groups to meet, work and learn together. The community centre will offer life long learning opportunities for everyone. We also plan to provide formal apprenticeships in sustainable building techniques, urban agriculture and hospitality.
The key steps in developing a more sustainable local food system that ensures no one goes hungry requires comprehensive food education from seed to plate alongside a transformation in urban agricultural practices. Growing Otherwise, part of LCNC, will encourage:
- Community gardens
- Community food co-operatives
- Buying groups
- Vegetable box schemes.
In terms of environmental sustainability, LCNC sees itself as part of a global movement of Ecological Cities which enables their residents to live a good quality of life while using minimal natural resources. They do so by:
- Using local materials, and local energy, air and water flows (sunlight, wind and rain) to the best advantage.
- Incorporating natural ecosystems into urban areas to host local wildlife.
- Using vegetation to control urban microclimates – to stabilise temperature and humidity.
- Enhancing the life of the community and relationships between people, by creating convivial social environments.
- Supporting an innovative culture which enables people to flourish and develop their creative potential and use new technologies.
With thanks to Christie Walk, Adelaide. For more about Ecological Cities click here.
We don't know exactly what the future holds for us in terms of global warming and what its different impacts will be on London. However, the more flexible and adaptable our building design and the more low impact our construction methods and materials, the more successful we will be at meeting the needs of the people who live, work and play here.
Although we know that we cannot get rid of all of the problems we face today straight away, we want to make a start by providing affordable housing which is responsive to the needs of the existing local community. By self building we will reduce costs and this enables LCNC to offer fair rent housing that is desperately needed, providing tenants with housing security. Low impact and low toxicity are also part of our environmental building principles. However this does not mean low performance. Straw has excellent insulation properties for heat and sound, is easy to use and is very low in toxicity, an important thing to consider for the health and wellbeing of residents and users of the buildings.
Financial sustainability means all sectors of the community being able to afford good quality housing, good food and local opportunities for work, learning and leisure. In the current economic climate many people are forced to turn to loans that they cannot afford. To address this, Finance Otherwise, one part of LCNC, offers small loans to individuals and start up businesses. It is essential that people have access to affordable flexible places to work, particularly in the changing financial environment. This will be an integral part of the community centre.
LCNC as a collective has been proactive in building our capacity through training, networking and skill sharing. We are excited and motivated about the projects that we have started and those currently being developed.
We continue to realise our vision through exploration, evaluation and monitoring how we do things. We are constantly adapting, changing what does not work for us, learning from our mistakes and finding new ways of doing things.
We are grateful to a wide variety of organisations and individuals who have supported and encouraged us to get this far. Many continue to work in collaboration with us to develop an urban lifetime neighbourhood.
Our Volunteers and Friends
Chris Furnell, Co-operative Enterprise Hub, Development Consultant
The Drive Housing Co-op
Granville Community Centre
London Permaculture Network
London Rebuilding Society
LCHC (London Community Housing Co-operative)
The Otherwise Club
The People’s Kitchen
The Plunkett Foundation
Sanford Housing Co-op
Bee Rowan and Chris Hawker, Strawbuild
Alex Lawrie and Kate Whittle at Somerset Co-operative Services
Seeds For Change
Trafford Hall, National Communities Resource Centre
Transition Town Kensal to Kilburn
Unity Trust Bank
Vine Housing Co-op
Nick Waite’s Associates