Designing the Future to Predict the Future: An ‘urban-first’ approach to co-creating zero-carbon neighbourhoods

A.J. Jenkins, Greg Keeffe, C.L. Martin, A.A.J.F. van den Dobbelsteen, S. Broersma, Riccardo Pulselli

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The natural ecotone between people, community and carbon reduction is the zero-carbon community. Over recent decades, the design of zero-carbon communities has focussed too greatly on carbon emissions and not enough on building communities. Anthropogenic climate change is a human problem, yet people are seldom placed at the centre of design solutions. The City-zen Roadshow is an intensive co-creational approach to creating zero-carbon communities, which places stakeholders at the very centre of the design process. The methodology uses an ‘urban-first’ approach and champions urban design as the main driver to deliver change. Carbon accounting and energy analysis sit in adjacency with the urban design proposals to deliver interventions that are net zero-carbon, low energy, low waste, socially rich, ecologically diverse, economically robust, resilient, fit for purpose and engaging. The paper describes this novel approach using one roadshow as a case study to illustrate the urban interventions proposed. Living in zero-carbon communities is not just about photovoltaic panels and wind turbines. It is, instead, about thinking differently about the way in which people live and the decisions they make, to provide people with alternative ways of living that are more desirable than those currently available.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event35th Passive and Low Energy Architecture Conference: Sustainable Architecture and Urban Design - Coruna, Spain
Duration: 1 Sep 20203 Dec 2020


Conference35th Passive and Low Energy Architecture Conference
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  • Urbanism
  • Zero-carbon
  • Co-creation
  • Stakeholders
  • Architecture
  • Energy
  • Food
  • Transport
  • Carbon accounting
  • Health
  • Wellbeing

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