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9th September 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of the Phoenix Project newsletter – a regular update of news and views from our Phoenix Project in Lewes, East Sussex. This newsletter is brought to you by Human Nature, a campaigning development company creating places that inspire and enable people to live great lives within the planet's limits. Sign up to future newsletters here.

We’re into the final hours of preparations for our Phoenix Project Design Festival this weekend on North Street in Lewes, where we’ll share our evolving plans for a new super-green neighbourhood.

The Foundry Gallery
will be the centre of the event, hosting an exhibition of work in progress. Here you can explore ideas behind the development and see sketches, models and diagrams. The Human Nature team plus representatives from eight leading architectural practices and other experts and specialists working on the project will be on hand to answer your questions.

In the Soap Box (the Old Soap Factory building) there will be a series of talks by experts in the fields of architecture, engineering and sustainability. The Car Wash will host further talks and workshops, as well as fitness classes from Soulfit.

In Hammonds Yard there will be dance performances and live music, plus food and drink from local suppliers including Zu Cafe, Beak Brewery, Caccia & Tails (Friday) and Pat’s Pizza (Saturday).


This is an event for all the family so please bring along your children. On Saturday and Sunday there will be a Kids’ Area, 12-4pm each day, where children can design their own Little Lewes and enter their ideas into a competition to be judged by our design professionals! Click here for the full programme and a map of the site.

If you can’t join us this weekend, don’t panic. We’ll be capturing as much as we can during the event to share online in the coming weeks. And continuing our exploration together of how we can best change the world. One neighbourhood at a time… (Image: Philip Volkers

Ahead of the Design Festival, Human Nature Founder & CEO Jonathan Smales pays tribute to Phoenix Rising – a unique campaigning group that played a huge part in the history of the site.

“I’ve been involved in planning and development issues for many years and almost always community groups form in opposition to something but offer little in the way of an alternative. Let’s face it: many (maybe most) development proposals are simplistic profit-making ventures designed to pass risk on to others while cashing in on any old unsustainable and banal development. Good alternatives are hard to find.

“In this context Phoenix Rising was a most unusual community action group. I love their most memorable slogan: ‘we want development – we just want it to be brilliant’. Their opposition came with an alternative proposition. And they foresaw that the North Street Quarter proposal wouldn’t be viable, they somehow financed and presented their own masterplan and ran an incredible, creative campaign.” Read the full piece here.

Sustainability is at the core of everything Human Nature does, which is why we’ve invited Lewes Climate Hub to join us at the Design Festival.

At the Zu Marquee in Hammonds Yard meet the Climate Hub team and find out about its aims and how we can all take action on the climate crisis.

“Like us, the Phoenix Project is very much about exploring inspiring ways to live that have less impact on our planet,” says Juliet Oxborrow, part of the Hub’s management team. “We're excited to see a bold vision for a new neighbourhood in Lewes – especially one that shows that designing and building in greater harmony with our natural world really can be more rewarding and sustainable for everyone.”

Human Nature will also be at Planet Party: A Lewes Festival for Climate Change on Sunday 19th September – a family-friendly festival exploring the practical, positive actions we can take individually, as a community and globally to help safeguard our world for future generations. See more here.

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