Planning Sustainable Communities

March 13th, 2004

“The workshop was thought provoking, fun to do and got us involved at an unprecedented level.”

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On Saturday 13th March, Shape launched its “Planning Sustainable Communities” programme with an innovative, collaborative design workshop for 12 members of community group “Environmental living in Cambridge” (Enlinca) and three built environment professionals: architects Meredith Bowles of Mole Architects, Henry Fletcher and wayfinding consultant Nick Hawksworth.

Founded in May 2000, Enlinca’s aim is to find a way of living that creates a strong sense of community with the least negative impact on the environment. The group plans to club together to buy or build from scratch a collection of houses and or working buildings with which its possible to share everyday resources including, for example: energy, a garden, re-cycling and laundry facilities, cars and workspace.

“Enlinca have worked together for a number of years to develop a clear idea of how they’d like to live,” explains Ben Koralek. “Sitting in on a recent group meeting, it was clear to me that they could describe their ideas in detail. All that was missing were some really good drawings which would communicate their vision to the wider community, a local planning authority and their bank manager.”

Shape’s “Picturing The Place” workshop helps community groups like Enlinca work closely with arcrecent eventshitects and design professionals to create images which express their vision for a more ‘sustainable’ community. The “Picturing The Place” workshop is a highly creative, challenging and lively process which – as Enlinca founder member Liz Roman said - puts into ‘practice’ “dreams of the future.”

Working in small groups of four or five, the workshop participants produced a range of concept sketches and user-friendly drawings to help develop Enlinca’s business plan and promotional work.

In order to capitalise on these outcomes, and to empower Enlinca to realise their vision for a better way of living, Enlinca, shape and our associates are now planning a second workshop with which to explore the financial barriers and opportunities to a property development process which places ecology and a sense of community at its heart.

“The workshop was thought provoking, fun to do and got us involved at an unprecedented level.”
Brigid, Enlinca

“A wonderful blend of solid expertise, warmth & imagination.”
Mary, Enlinca

As well as seeking project partners from the developer, local authority and social housing sectors, shape is also planning to work with a range of environmental, community and residents’ groups to help design more desirable, environmentally-friendly homes and ‘liveable’ neighbourhoods in the housing growth areas within the East of England region.

“This was a brilliant example of facilitation… the dynamic between a professional architect and a group of individuals was very productive… Shape really justifies its existence with this calibre of intervention.”
Peter, Enlinca

Concept Sketches from the Day