Making a sustainable community

Authors: Deborah Quilgars, Alison Dyke, Alison Wallace and Sarah West
Published by Joseph Rowntree Foundation, February 2019

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’.

The research demonstrated that mainstream housing developers can successfully deliver sustainable homes and communities at scale, in particular delivering high-quality living environments. However, technical build issues and differential buy-in from residents means that environmental and social measures need to be built into the model as far as possible from the outset. The research involved an environmental survey and longitudinal qualitative interviews to document residents’ experiences over the period 2012–2018. It also compared Derwenthorpe with three other sustainable housing developments in England.

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