A sustainable community? Life at Derwenthorpe 2012 - 2015

Deborah Quilgars, Alison Dyke, Rebecca Tunstall and Sarah West
25th Jan 2016

This research project evaluated early resident experiences of creating a socially and environmentally sustainable community at Derwenthorpe, which is being developed by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust in partnership with David Wilson Homes.

The scheme is being developed as an urban extension of over 500 new homes in York. It is due for completion in 2018.

Researchers found that:

  • Derwenthorpe residents had lower than average carbon footprints from energy use in their homes compared with national survey respondents, as a result of their homes’ energy-efficiency standards.
  • Nine out of 10 residents were satisfied with their homes, similar to national satisfaction levels for owner occupiers, but exceeding those for social renters.
  • A significant early achievement has been the high level of community activity and involvement. Residents’ level of connectedness was very high; on average, households cited eight other residents as friends.
  • Challenges were evident, including how to support residents to make best use of energy-efficiency measures.

Although zero carbon policies have been abandoned nationally, it is clear that housing providers can to reduce residents’ overall carbon footprints substantially by building to higher environmental standards.

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