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27th October 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.

With Cop26 approaching, described by America's climate envoy John Kerry as the "last best hope for the world to get its act together", we’re dedicating this newsletter to climate and sustainability. 

The summit will see world leaders set new national targets – known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – for the cutting of greenhouse gas emissions. Originally scheduled for 2020, the event was pushed back to this year because of the pandemic. Starting on 31st October in Glasgow, Cop26 will take place over two weeks. 

In Lewes, Depot will be hosting its Climate Action! Festival, including special events with the Lewes Climate Hub. Human Nature Founder and CEO Jonathan Smales will be joining a talk on 2nd November between 3-5pm, entitled Housing for the Future – we’d be delighted to see you down there. 

We believe that there are few more palpable ways to grow a positive movement for a better future than brilliant placemaking. With the Phoenix Project, our ambition is to build one of Europe’s most sustainable housing developments, not only providing a remarkable place to live and visit but creating a blueprint for better living. 

We plan our schemes by reference to an innovative sustainability framework called a ‘Circle of Impact.’ This circle sets out the ten ways the Phoenix can achieve cuts in carbon and otherwise have a regenerative, net positive, impact on the ecosystem in and around Lewes and the South Downs. It goes well beyond green building to look at energy, ester and waste infrastructures, the mix of community and commercial facilities and services and ways in which this new place can support people in choosing to live more sustainably. 

Join us at the Foundry Gallery
If you’d like to learn more about our plans, we’re reopening the Foundry Gallery on Thursday 28th October from 4-8pm and Saturday 30th October from 11-3pm to showcase the main elements of the display from the Phoenix Project Design Festival. The boards from the exhibition can also be viewed online here

We’ve also added two more answers to our FAQ document – revealing more about how the neighbourhood will look and how we’ll be making it accessible. We’re still working through your feedback and will be presenting our findings soon. 

Enjoy this highlights video from the Phoenix Project Design Festival weekend, which took place between 10th-12th September 2021.

You can also watch talks by our partners, urban designers, planners, architects and other experts, here. Topics include healthy living and sustainability by Joanna Yarrow (Human Nature); climate change and environmental design by environmental engineer Patrick Bellew (Atelier Ten); and flood strategies by civil engineer Fred Labbe (Expedition Engineering) and architect Kirsty Badenoch (Periscope).

(Filmed and edited by Echo Video)

The built environment is a leading cause of climate breakdown, contributing about 40 per cent of the UK’s total carbon footprint. This estimate includes the materials used in construction of buildings as well as the energy needed to heat, cool and power them. But places also inform the lifestyle choices made by residents, impacting decisions about waste and recycling, transport and food. 

In an age of climate crisis, how we live is the most pressing of questions. We must design places that, from the outset, include bold measures to radically reduce and eliminate greenhouse gases in line with what is needed for a safe world. But it is more than that: we must build in ways that lead to better places and improve the health and the lives for those who live there.

We’ve compiled six key points that must be addressed when building new neighbourhoods, and how we intend to meet each challenge at the Phoenix Project. Read the full article here

Watch: Talks by the Human Nature team and our wider network of architects and planners filmed at the Phoenix Project Design Festival, here

Read: This comprehensive guide in The Guardian to what Cop26 and why it matters, plus these five graphs that show the reality of climate change. 

Read: Missed the Design Festival or keen to take a second look? Read the exhibition boards from the Foundry Gallery detailing our plans and key principles here

Read: Want to learn more about the Phoenix Project? Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions section (FAQ) on our website, which we’ll keep updated, here

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