26th September 2017

Delivering Healthy Cities – Leeds Climate Innovation District

We have been working with Developer Citu for some time to deliver their Climate Innovation District (CID) in the South Bank area of Leeds city centre. The project fits perfectly with our aspirations to design and enable healthier living. Rob Allen, Digital Content Manager from Citu talked us through it;

The Climate Innovation District will see the regeneration of brownfield, industrial land and the creation of family housing and supporting facilities to enable a thriving community.  The development will provide an extension to the existing city centre and will be within an easy walk or cycle of the excellent amenities already on offer in Leeds.

The first phase of the development will consist of over 300 new homes that will be manufactured “on-site” at our timber frame factory that sits at the heart of CID; Homes will be manufactured to Passive House standards meaning that energy consumption will be kept to a minimum.

The homes will sit within a landscape that has been designed to be functional as well as beautiful. Residents will be provided with much more shared public space than would normally be expected, with the amount of space allocated to road kept to a minimum. The landscape has been designed to facilitate chance interaction with neighbours, whether in courtyards, parks or along the river bank, and to encourage play and exercise. We want people to spend more time outdoors and be as active as possible.

As well as providing a great setting for the new homes and family life, the landscape will contribute to a reduced flood risk. Surface water will be managed at source through a combination of tree planting, permeable paving, rain gardens and ponds. It is a great example of a high quality SuDS scheme that contributes to amenity, biodiversity and ecology, whilst minimising below ground drainage and avoiding the need to bury plastic attenuation tanks.

The first phase will be joined to the rest of the development via a new footbridge crossing of the River Aire. This enhances connections from existing communities into the city centre of Leeds. We hope that this will lead to an improved quality of life as well as reducing the amount of traffic on the roads as people choose to walk or cycle rather than drive.

Future phases will include a mix of uses and will be centred around ‘Smart Streets’ which will be used as a test bed for new technologies (including autonomous vehicles), materials, green infrastructure and measures to promote waking and cycling. For those that still wish to drive we will be providing electric car charging points for each car parking space.

The overall vision for the development is to create a safe, sustainable and healthy district, with a strong community spirit. To help cultivate this we won’t be selling any houses to investors, or those looking to buy to let, so that the community consists of those with a stake in the future of the development. Once complete, our aim is to set up a Community Interest Company and transfer control to the residents, so they can take control of their development for the long term, continually innovating and improving.

The first phase of the development is currently on site with new homes due for occupation in the first half of 2018.

Delivering Healthy Cities – Leeds Climate Innovation District