Demand for suitable housing
The demand for suitable housing in the UK is currently a widespread issue. The UK, at this moment in time has an ageing, growing population with more people living alone and rising housing demand is outstripping new supply. To help families across the country find affordable, good quality housing, far more houses need to be built. However housing accounts for 27 per cent of carbon emissions and therefore new measures need to be implemented to protect the environment. Climate change has become a global threat and many fear if nothing is done to tackle the problem the environment will continue to suffer. It is therefore essential that emissions from new homes are cut dramatically and everyone works towards zero carbon housing and development.
Eco-towns have prevailed as the new solution to tackle the current sustainable housing shortage and climate change. These new eco-towns will consist of between 5,000-20,000 homes. "They are intended to exploit the potential to create a complete new settlement to achieve zero carbon development and more sustainable living using the best new design and architecture," (Eco-town Prospectus pg 4). The key features according to the eco-town prospectus are:
- Places with a separate and distinct identity but good links to surrounding towns and cities in terms of jobs, transport and services
- The development as a whole to achieve zero carbon and to be exemplar in at least one area of environment technology
- A good range of facilities within the town including a secondary school, shopping, business space and leisure
- Between 30 and 50 per cent affordable housing with a good mix of tenures and size of homes in mixed communities
- A delivery organisation to manage the town and its development and provide support for people, business and community services
In spring 2007 the housing minister announced the government's proposal to build a number of small eco-towns. This proposal has proved controversial and since the announcement in April 2008 there has been an ongoing debate in regards to the viability of the 15 shortlisted sites.
2. Aims and Objectives
The overall aim of this project is to explore whether eco-towns are anything more than greenwash. In order to analyse the policy of eco-towns the following objectives will be targeted;
- Evaluate the need for housing development within the near future
- Determine why the government are keen to promote eco-towns
- Identify and discuss current eco-towns situated in the UK and abroad
- Explore the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed 15 sites
- Evaluate whether or not any of the 15 proposed sites are likely to provide sustainable communities and report on current status of progress.
- Evaluate the cost effectiveness of eco-towns
- Draw a conclusion on which sites would be most suitable for eco-towns
3. What has been achieved to date?
To date there has been extensive background research carried out on eco-towns, through the use of the internet, library and newspaper articles. The aim of the project has also been decided with several objectives in place to ensure it is explored in detail. The objectives are only a rough guideline and as more information becomes available other aspects of the report will be researched in more detail. Furthermore a programme of work has been drawn up detailing the time scale in which specific parts of the project will be completed.
4. Programme of Work
The main elements of the report are as follows;
- Background Research
- Aims and objectives
- Interim Report
- Research site locations
- Research cost effectiveness
- Analysis of research
- Write up of main body
- Final Report and deadline
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