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Making a sustainable community: life in Derwenthorpe, York, 2012–2018

This report presents the results of a six-year evaluation of Derwenthorpe, an urban extension of about 500 homes in York, developed by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT) and David Wilson Homes. The research documented the extent to which it met its aims to create a socially and environmentally sustainable community ‘fit for the 21st century’.

Alison Dyke, Sarah West / Published on 1 February 2019

Making a sustainable community: Derwenthorpe, York, 2012-2018, Deborah Quilgars, Alison Dyke, Alison Wallace and Sarah West, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Copyright University of York 2018. PDF ISBN 978 1 911581 60 4

Derwenthorpe - a sustainable urban development in York

Derwenthorpe, a sustainable urban development in York. Image: Jonathan Pow.

Derwenthorpe is a new urban extension of approximately 500 homes on the outskirts of York, England, that is being developed and managed by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT), and built by David Wilson Homes. It is a mixed community of social housing, shared ownership and owner occupation, and aims to create a socially and environmentally sustainable community ‘fit for the 21st century’ (JRHT, 2009). Derwenthorpe offers a wide range of ‘interventions’ intended to enable and encourage residents to live sustainably. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) commissioned the Centre for Housing Policy (CHP) at the University of York who, together with researchers from SEI York examined resident experiences over Derwenthorpe’s first six years, from 2012 to 2018.

The research involved longitudinal interviews with 43 residents (69 interviews in total), and an environmental survey (using SEI’s REAP Petite community footprint tool) for Derwenthorpe residents and those living in three comparator communities in England (BedZED in London, Lancaster Cohousing, and Ashton Hayes in Cheshire). Interim findings were reported in Quilgars et al (2015).

This report focuses on the community and homes in 2018, with change over time also considered.

SEI authors

Alison Dyke

Research Fellow

SEI York

Sarah West

Centre Director

SEI York

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