The Building for Life 12 standards help to assess a development for the creation of better places for people to live. This is determined by a traffic light system to indicate the how positively the design has responded to each element.
Sinclair Meadow, located in South Shields, was the UKs first carbon negative scheme. Its 21 affordable homes comprise of 9 three-bedroom houses and 12 two-bedroom apartments (Robertson, 2013).
INTEGRATION INTO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
1 . CONNECTIONS
- There is only one access road into the site.
- The apartment block segregates the development from surrounding areas.
2 . FACILITIES AND SERVICES
- Only 3 minutes walk from: retail zones, medical facilities and places of worship.
3 . PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- 2 minute walk to bus stop,
- 10 minute walk to Chichester Metro Station.
4 . MEETING LOCAL HOUSING REQUIREMENTS
- Provides a mix of tenure in flats or semidetached houses.
- Delivers a mix of housing sizes of 2- or 3-bedroom homes.
- Provides affordable housing.
CREATING A PLACE
5 . CHARACTER
- Different design to surrounding schemes while still blending with the housing typologies on the area.
- Its carbon negative nature gives a strong sense of character, using solar panels and a biomass boiler.
6 . WORKING WITH THE SITE AND ITS CONTEXT
- Maintaining green space provides habitats and creates microclimates.
- Inward facing houses help to mitigate the noise and safety threats from the A194.
7 . CREATING WELL DEFINED STREETS
- Landscaping and paths help to designate spaces.
- Seating and green space strategically placed in order to encourage activity.
8 . EASY TO FIND YOUR WAY AROUND
- Only 2 key L-shaped roads, allowing for clear and easy navigation.
STREET AND HOME
9 . STREETS FOR ALL
- Less car dominated spaces.
- Green space and community gardens.
- Evidence of children playing in community space.
10 . CAR PARKING
- Houses don’t have individual spaces.
- Parking minimised to 1 space per 2.3 dwellings, to meet sustainability goals.
- Lots of informal parking was observed, as highlighted in BBC resident interview.
11 . PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SPACES
- Public green space and private gardens are provided.
- Clear designation of private space at the front of houses through decking and planting.
12 . EXTERNAL STORAGE AND AMENITIES
- Sheds outside each house for individual storage.
- Communal bin storage at the site’s entrance.
Sinclair Meadows scored 10 green lights, showing that the scheme is very successful in providing for most people’s needs. However, parking and connections to the surroundings needing to be drastically improved. The building for life assessment doesn’t take into consideration the additional benefits this scheme provides in terms of sustainability and environmental gains.
BBC. (2012). Sinclair Meadows: The street that removes its own carbon footprint. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-20302013. Accessed on: 24/02/20.
Building For Life. (2020). About built for life. Available at: http://www.builtforlifehomes.org/go/about. Accessed on: 29/02/20.
CDI. (undated). A code for sustainable homes level 6, zero carbon development of 12 apartments and 9 houses all for social rent. Available at: https://www.cdi-icm.co.uk/casestudy/sinclair-meadows-zero-carbon-social-housing/. Accessed on: 29/02/20.
Design Council. (undated). Building for life 12. Available at: https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/resources/guide/building-life-12-third-edition. Accessed on: 29/02/20.
Narec. (undated). Sinclair Meadows carbon negative community. Available at: https://www.narecde.co.uk/case-study/sinclair-meadows-carbon-negative-community/#.XlPqBHd2tPY. Accessed on: 29/02/20.
Robertson, G. (2013). Four Housing Group: Sinclair Meadows, South Sheilds. Available at: https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/news/four-housing-group-sinclair-meadows-south-shields-35534. Accessed on: 24/02/20.
South Tyneside Council. (2016). Housing (JSNAA). Available at: https://www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/57236/Housing. Accessed on: 29/02/20.