Towering Ambitions

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  • Topic: Efficient energy use, Sustainability, Central heating
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Towering ambitions
Transforming high rise housing into sustainable homes

Towering ambitions: Transforming high rise housing into sustainable homes By Hannah Kyrke-Smith Green Alliance Green Alliance is a charity and independent think tank focused on ambitious leadership for the environment. Green Alliance is a charity and independent think tank focused on ambitious leadership for the environment. We have a track record of over 30 years, working with the most influential leaders from the NGO, business, and political communities. Our work generates new thinking and dialogue, and has increased political action and support for environmental solutions in the UK. About Towering Ambitions This report is published as part of Green Alliance’s Towering Ambitions project which is looking at the challenges faced by residents of existing high rise housing in trying to live greener lifestyles. This report recommends how green living in tower blocks can be facilitated. We have also produced A better place to live: a toolkit for high rise green living, aimed at helping tower block residents to take action. Green Alliance 36 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0RE 020 7233 7433 blog: twitter: @GreenAllianceUK The Green Alliance Trust is a registered charity 1045395 and company limited by guarantee (England and Wales) 3037633, registered at the above address Published by Green Alliance, December 2012 ISBN 978-1-905869-80-0 Designed by Howdy and printed by Park Lane Press Acknowledgements Thanks to the residents of the Petticoat Tower on the Middlesex Street estate in the City of London; Warwick and Brindley estates on Harrow Road in the City of Westminster; and the Grantham Road estate in the London Borough of Lambeth, who helped us to develop the ideas in this report. Thanks also to Faye Scott and Edward Hobson at Green Alliance for their help with editing. We are grateful to the City Bridge Trust for funding this work.

© Green Alliance, 2012 Green Alliance’s work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No derivative works 3.0 unported licence. This does not replace copyright but gives certain rights without having to ask Green Alliance for permission. Under this licence, our work may be shared freely. This provides the freedom to copy, distribute and transmit this work on to others, provided Green Alliance is credited as the author and text is unaltered. This work must not be resold or used for commercial purposes. These conditions can be waived under certain circumstances with the written permission of Green Alliance. For more information about this licence go to http:// by-nc-nd/3.0/

Towering ambitions: transforming high rise housing into sustainable homes


Executive summary 1. Cities, smart growth and high rise living 2. Transforming tower blocks In the home Whole block solutions Beyond the block Conclusions and recommendations 2 4 8 9 12 19 24


Towering ambitions: transforming high rise housing into sustainable homes

Executive summary

High rise housing is a familiar feature of the urban landscape. Its compactness offers great potential to provide cleaner, greener, low environmental impact living for residents. This is in line with a broader vision of how sustainable cities of the future will look. Cities need to make the most of what is already available if they are to realise this vision, but the current reality for many living in existing high rise housing is far from where it needs to be. As well as distinct opportunities, high rise housing presents its own set of unique challenges. There are around 390,000 flats in high rise blocks in England, and they weren’t designed for low carbon living.1 This report examines how the positive vision can be realised, and how sustainable lifestyles and the benefits they bring can reach more people living in existing high rise...
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