A Sustainable Community? Life at Derwenthorpe 2012-2015

News | Posted on Wednesday 17 February 2016

YESI-supported research project produces interim report and findings on life at this socially and environmentally sustainable community in York, according to residents' experiences.

This research project led by Deborah Quilgars of the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York, evaluated early resident experiences of creating a socially and environmentally sustainable community at Derwenthorpe, which is being developed by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust in partnership with David Wilson Homes. 

Derwenthorpe is being developed as an urban extension of over 500 new homes in York, and is due for completion in 2018.  It aims to provide both a socially and environmentally sustainable community and includes eco-friendly, energy efficient homes; incentives for lifestyle change to reduce environmental impact, and; the promotion of community participation and long-term stewardship. This interim report examines the extent to which a sustainable community is developing, drawing on early resident experiences.

Researchers found that:

  • Derwenthorpe residents had lower than average carbon footprints from energy use in their homes compared with national survey respondents, as a result of their homes’ energy-efficiency standards
  • Nine out of 10 residents were satisfied with their homes, similar to national satisfaction levels for owner occupiers, but exceeding those for social renters
  • A significant early achievement has been the high level of community activity and involvement. Residents’ level of connectedness was very high; on average, households cited eight other residents as friends
  • Challenges were evident, including how to support residents to make best use of energy-efficiency measures.

Although zero carbon policies have been abandoned nationally, it is clear that housing providers can to reduce residents’ overall carbon footprints substantially by building to higher environmental standards.

Click on the links below for the full report and research findings, compiled by Deborah Quilgars, Alison Dyke, Rebecca Tunstall and Sarah West of the University of York.

Derwenthorpe full interim report Jan 2016 (PDF , 2,678kb)

Derwenthorpe interim research findings Jan 2016 (PDF , 192kb)