New neighborhood being pitched as “the most sustainable in the UK”

Real estate development company Human Nature has received official approval for the construction of a neighborhood built entirely of wood and biomaterials within a park in southern England.

Human Nature has officially received approval to transform a former industrial site in Lewes — a small town located southeast of East Sussex County — into a sustainable neighborhood of 685 homes. Described by investors as the “most sustainable” neighborhood in the U.K., the ambitious project will redesign a 7.9-hectare brownfield site within the South Downs National Park through a master plan of 18 all-wood residential blocks.

The buildings, designed by 12 different architectural firms, will be two to five stories high and will be clad with prefabricated panels made from locally sourced timber and biomaterials such as hemp. The site's industrial structures, on the other hand, will be reused to house most of the community spaces, including a canteen, event hall, taproom, fitness center, workspaces and studios.

The apartments will be designed to be energy efficient and powered by renewable energy from on-site photovoltaic panels and an off-site renewable energy facility.

Human Nature, The Phoenix, Lewes, UK. Courtesy Human Nature

Aiming to create a place for all generations and people of mixed incomes, 30 percent of the 685 residences will be affordable housing, 154 of which will be built under the government’s Local Housing Allowance rates and the remainder will be built under the First Homes program.

Public plazas, gardens, community buildings, and a riverside pathway running the length of the site will provide spaces designed for residents to interact. Walkable entirely on foot, the neighborhood will have a mobility hub for residents that will provide electric car sharing, car rentals, electric bicycle services and shuttle buses to encourage a shift away from private vehicle use.

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