. Infratecture: Exploring the urban and architectural design...A Decolonial Vision of Cities, Rural Areas, and Life A Material Return to Gendered Labor in Modern Architecture v...A New Suburbia in a post-COVID World?A Tour of the Monuments of Jinwen Train line: Infrastructura...Alternative housing models in action. Public-community ecosy...Architectural Investigation of Urban Villages in Shenzhen an...Architecture, technology and the environment: proposals for ...Balancing ACT: transgressing boundaries, asserting community...Biomimicry Thinking: fostering quality of life and sustainab...Changing landscapes and places in fluxChanging Physical and Societal Landscape in the New Normal: ...Cities without Country: High-density urban agriculture and t...Co-creating with design Urban-Rural food systems for sustain...Colonizing the harbour - The role of architecture in creatin...Colour seduction: Foster Associates strategies for architect...Concept of Garden city in Wrocław (Breslau) after World War...Counterculture Countryside: Unveiling Stories of a Fallen Oh...Covid Distancing and its Effect on Shared Mental Models & ZP...Defining Wilderness: The Evolving Boundaries of Banff Nation...Designing for Sustainable Community Transformation: Age-Frie...Designing in the Anthropocene. How living and designing with...Designing Virtual Cultural Memories for Asian Cities: the Ca...Ecotopia – Architectural Ecotopes as an approach to combat...Ethics in the Outside between Transpacific Coastal Centres a...Expanding Service Learning Projects in Design Education Beyo...Exploration for an Inclusive approach for Historical Settlem...Factors Sustaining City’s Distinctiveness. Case Study Sura...Façade as Façade: Northern Ireland’s parallel realityFrom alternate realities, to the urban impossible: Drawing o...Greened Out: Exploring the understanding and effects of gree...Hunting the Kingfish: On Uncovering and Reclaiming Exurban Q...Indigenous Weaving Techniques in Shaping Building SkinsInfinite Space of the U.S. Interior Justice through (Re)Planting Aotearoa New Zealand’s Urban ...Keynote IntroductionKEYNOTE: Don’t be second hand American – build on Count...KEYNOTE: Ethical SpacesKEYNOTE: From Countryside to Country-sideMapping 18th-century London through Hogarthian ArtMapping Everyday Community Life in Exurban Areas around Toky...Mapping lifelines and tracing tendencies: how the design of ...Mapping of social initiatives as a model of local developmen...Memory, emotions and everyday heritage in good architectural...Micro Project - Macro Subjects: Waste and reuse as strategy ...Multicultural Design Projects and Openness to Diversity Multiculturalism in Public Transport HubsNarrative and Sustainability: An Interpretation and a Case S...Networks of Circular Economy Villages: Garden Cities for the...Neuro-Participatory Urbanism: Sensing Sentiments and Trackin...New communities and new values? Exploring the interplay betw...Non-urban zero emission neighbourhoods: Two cases from Norwa...(Not Just) Another Roadside Attraction: Documenting Roadside...Participatory methodology for the inventory of Intangible Cu...Pedagogy of Integration of L+Arch. The Last Pristine Place i...Poipoia te Kākano, Kia Puāwai – Enabling Māori communit...Protecting, Integrating & Allocating Agriculture in Urban De...Reflecting on the Urban and the Regional: Designing for a po...Resilient futures through collaborative teaching Revalue. Heritage as idea and project.Revisiting the notion of landscape in Landscape ArchitectureRings of Urban Informality – Manifestations, Typologies an...Rites and Myths. A new form of countryside regenerationRural Parks and the Urban Renaissance: Finding a Blueprint f...Rural Resourcefulness: Lessons from the American School Rurbanism or a transversal overlook in our territoriesSegregating the Suburbs: The History of the Ladera Housing C...Smudge, Prayer and SongSustainable Civil Infrastructure: A Historical Survey Teaching non-designers a designThe "K" shaped recovery: The impact of COVID 19 on housing i...The analysis of public space qualities in terms of flexibili...The Black Panthers, Rat Park, and Opioid Addiction – A Rur...The Cultural Capital of Urban MorphologyThe Garden in the Machine: new symbols of possibility for a ...The Influence and Importance of Sacred Places in Community A...The Life of the River: Currents and Torrents at the Edge of ...The Reach of a Morpho-Topical ArchitectureThe street, the place where the life is. A rudofskian though...The sustainability of urban ruins—Shougang Group industria...The World Park and the CountrysideUrban CatalystsUrban Design Projects for University CampusUrban Protected Areas – between cities and rural hinterlan...Urban Revitalization –Defragmenting the Lahore CanalValue-Inclusive Design for Socially Equitable Communities Virtual Tourism relocation (VTr) - to experience the lost, t...Welcome & IntroductionWelcome and IntroductionWhat does it mean to see cows grazing in American cities? Wild Ways – A scoping review of literature on understandin...

Cultures, Communities and Design

New communities and new values? Exploring the interplay between new low carbon neighbourhoods and their residents
K. O’Sullivan et al.


View film

As significant contributors to global CO2 and other GHG emissions, it is recognised that the energy and buildings sectors must find ways to decarbonise. Active Buildings represent a potential route to addressing these issues, realising the net zero energy transition as well as transforming the sustainability of the built environment. Our research focuses on the development and realisation of Active Homes, a particular type of Active Building. Based on our qualitative research across a range of Active Home developments we illustrate that while diverse in their locations, materialities and mode of contribution to net zero targets, our case sites share a number of common goals, including ambition to create environments both within and outside of the homes that enhance their occupants’ lives, through enabling social connections with neighbours, embodied connections with nature or enhancing occupant health. Underpinning these ambitions is an understanding that the daily lives carried out within the homes are intrinsically connected to the wider context, the environment and community, they are within. Through fostering these connections, it is imagined that not only will the occupants be able to live well, but that homes and wider active neighbourhoods will become valued and valuable places, to both the people living there and wider society. However, residents are people at different life stages, with different household compositions, social relationships, histories and anticipated futures, including their expectations for life in their new home. Thus, residents will likely both affect and be affected by their homes and new communities in different ways. Drawing on findings from our Living Well in Low Carbon Homes research, we explore how such ambitions have been realised in Active Homes being developed in the UK and how this has interplayed with the expectations of the people residing in them to affect the formation of value and communities.


Dr Kate O’Sullivan – Kate is a Research Associate based in Cardiff University and is currently working on the Active Building Centre Research Programme. This qualitative longitudinal research is exploring how the assumptions underpinning the development of Active Homes are realised in their design and subsequently, how this influences the daily lives of their occupants and how the homes perform overall. Understanding the interplay between homes, energy and people, as the pathways towards net zero are navigated is essential for Active Homes to successfully contribute to net zero goals and become places where people can live well. More broadly, Kate’s research interests focus on the interplay between environmental, spatial and energy justice – how the sustainable and equitable use of natural resources is influenced by various economic, political and socio-spatial structures and how this manifests geographically. Research in this area is increasingly important as decarbonisation progresses and opportunities are presented that enable emerging systems and structures become more just. Her PhD research (2015-20) has highlighted the connections between political power, recognition, socio-economic development and the spatial distribution of costs and benefits emerging from low carbon transition.

Dr Fiona Shirani – Fiona is a Research Associate based in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University. Her research interests include how life events and relationships to others impact everyday energy use, as well as experiences of energy vulnerability. She has worked on several qualitative longitudinal projects and specialises in this methodological approach. Fiona is currently working as a Research Associate on the Active Building Centre Research Programme exploring experiences of living in Active or Zero Carbon Homes in and through space and time. She also works on the interdisciplinary FLEXIS programme, conducting a qualitative longitudinal study in a Welsh Valleys community where an innovative district heating scheme is under development.

Dr Rachel Hale – Rachel is a Research Associate based in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University. Her background is in sociology, and science and technology studies (STS). Her research interests include how people and technologies interact, and how this affects their health and wellbeing. She has worked on several qualitative and mixed methods research projects, and specialises in ethnographic research methods. Rachel is currently working on the Active Building Centre Research Programme exploring experiences of living well in Active or Zero Carbon Homes in and through space and time.

Professor Karen Henwood – Karen Henwood is a Professor in Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences and its Understanding Risk Research Group. She works on how it is possible for people to meet the challenges posed to themselves and society by the dynamics of environmental risk and socio-cultural change, including infrastructure and technology transitions in energy systems. Currently, in addition to work on the Active Building Centre Research Programme, Karen is a Co-Investigator on two social science and engineering/built environment projects: FLEXIS and NEUPA. The Flexis (Flexible Integrated Energy Systems) project is researching local community engagement with energy system change in South Wales; one of its work packages (on ‘energy system change and everyday life’) highlights questions about the lived experiences and dynamics of vulnerability. NEUPA (2020-2023) is an EPSRC study of network upgrade, local disruption, and heat decarbonisation.

Professor Nick Pidgeon – Professor Nick Pidgeon is Director of the Understanding Risk Research Group within the School of Psychology at Cardiff University. His research looks at public attitudes, risk perception and public engagement with environmental risks and energy technologies and infrastructures. He is Co-Investigator on the Flexible Integrated Energy Systems (FLEXIS) Project, researching community engagement with energy system change in South Wales. Nick was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the British Science Association in 2011 and an MBE in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to UK climate change awareness and energy security policy. He was Co-investigator on the ESRC Energy Biographies project. He is currently a member of the UK Department for Transport Science Advisory Council.