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Bsa presentation 2017 low impact development

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Presentation at BSA annual conference

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Bsa presentation 2017 low impact development

  1. 1. Living in the future? Low Impact Development and Energy System Change Fiona Shirani Cardiff University, School of Social Sciences Other team members: Chris Groves, Karen Henwood, Nick Pidgeon BSA 2017
  2. 2. • Experiences of developing the ecovillage – planning regulations • Addressing the energy trilemma – different ways of living – living in the future? Idyllic childhood • A fashionable lifestyle? ‘I would say three years ago, it's started turning up in the colour supplements and it's all, it's getting trendy and everyone has got to have a yurt. We've almost got celebrity status now … I think there has been a certain mad mainstreaming of this whole thing and I think the whole coffee table supplement glamorisation of it all has, yeah certainly in our case it has played into our hands, so now it's no longer something we have to be hopelessly embarrassed about.’ (Roy, as cited in Shirani et al., 2015) • Status of a pioneering project Contextual Overview
  3. 3. Policy Context • Lammas developed in response to Pembrokeshire CC Policy 52 – 8 criteria, including meeting at least 75% of household needs from the land by year 3 (later negotiated to 5) • Superseded by One Planet Development (OPD) (2010) – Must meet 65% food needs, minimum household income needs, all energy, water and biodegradable waste needs from the land (5 years) • Buildings covered by Building Regulations
  4. 4. Lammas Tir-y-Gafel ecovillage Energy Biographies 3 waves of interviews with 16 residents 2012-2013. 2 multimodal activities Funded by ESRC under ‘Energy and Communities’ programme. 3 Other case sites FLEXIS Interviews with 11 residents in summer 2016, once planning permission targets achieved Large-scale programme integrating technical developments and social science to address issues concerning the energy system of the future. WEFO funded Researching Lammas
  5. 5. • Easily met/unconcerning for some, pressurising and stressful for others Meeting the planning targets ‘I don’t really feel a massive sense of achievement you know. And if anything, kind of things seems to kind of collapse a little it would almost be, it was almost as though that threat that we had from planning was kind of holding things together a bit and when that threat kind of disappeared, I mean we submitted the annual monitoring report for Year 5 with all our figures in saying we had achieved the 75% and we didn’t hear anything from the council at all … So it’s a sort of kind underwhelming and very odd feeling it’s like you know you’d almost expect someone to go “congratulations, well done you, here’s your certificate”, we had nothing like that. We submitted it into a vacuum and nothing happened.’ (Graham)
  6. 6. Community • Planning targets had been unifying the community. Lack of common vision • Wanting an element of control • Some level of interdependence necessary due to shared resources • Informal cooperation working well • Being part of a community had initially attracted people • Anarchy
  7. 7. [o]ur dream when we moved here was to have this lifestyle, growing our own vegetables and experimenting with solar panels and compost toilets and solar showers and all this kind of thing whilst our children were young. And having this idyllic lifestyle and have them, you know, the lovely outdoors and everything, the mill pond, um, and the reality is when we reach that point where we have our own house and we’re growing our own vegetables, because this year we’ve not grown any vegetables at all, we’ve just bought food in, they’ll be pretty close to thinking about moving out of home… So yeah, the 75 % thing, I think it’s, like everybody here, although they have the intention and the spirit of what they’re supposed to be doing is happening, nobody’s actually succeeded, like we may have managed to demonstrate that we’ve provided 75 %, but nobody’s actually built their main house (Laura) Lack of family homes or personal space Personal and social costs
  8. 8. Social legacy • Impact on people who come and visit/volunteer • Legacy of inspiration not measurable • Status of a pioneering project I can be pretty sure that four hundred and fifty out of five hundred at least went away more inspired than they came you know? … the opportunity to come to this place seems to be beneficial to people, just to see what’s going on. Yeah, so it is a big and important thing. It’s one of, yeah maybe, our most appreciable output by about a hundred fold really [laughs] of all the other things we make for ourselves. (Darren) I have always wanted the plot to give back to people in some way, to have people coming through to give back to people and I know it’s not 75% or something but if, I am lucky to be doing this … if I can help input into other people’s lives in a really positive way that is, that is really important to me. (Ruth)
  9. 9. Smart co-operation? • Plans for smart management of the electricity supply from the hydro we’ve got a sort of control system which lets us know about what we’re using, about what’s available, um, it sort of facilitates borrowing and lending power between people, means that anybody overloading doesn’t cause the whole system to crash, they cause a local thing, and it gives them the ability to put, so things like water heaters on as sort of backup loads so that when there is spare power those are automatically switched on and off again, which is great … we’ve only got the prototype at the moment, but already can see we get so much more out of it by having that extra technology, yeah, it makes it easier and we can use it all up better. (Darren) • Reducing need for informal cooperation? • Place for technology
  10. 10. Concluding thoughts • Challenges of reconciling policy timescales with those of family life and permaculture development • Need for different building regulations for LIDs • Going beyond what is measured as success to consider wider personal and social implications • Place of technology – does this make the lifestyle more widely appealing?

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