We are often asked why we settled on a group of five homes when planning the development at Hockerton. There are practical reasons such as the size of the plot available, and planning requirements such as the need to incorporate street lighting in larger developments. But there is also a social reason. The following excerpt from OpenLearn LabSpace on team dynamics is a helpful summary…
How many people in a team?
Does the task need a lot of people doing the same task (for example, an advice centre) or a small, expert team addressing different parts of the task (for example, writing new information leaflets)? The size of the team needed will be an important consideration. The larger the team, the greater the potential variety of skills and knowledge, but as the size of the team increases each individual will have fewer opportunities to participate and influence proceedings. The size of a team is therefore a trade-off or balance between variety and individual input. A team of between five and seven people is considered best for the effective participation of all members, but to achieve the range of expertise and skills required, the group may need to be larger. This brings with it the challenges of how to manage and supervise a large team. In health and social care, multi-organisational teams may be large given the need to ensure representation from different organisations required to plan and deliver a particular service or address an individual service user’s case.
Homogeneous groups, whose members share similar values and beliefs, may be more satisfying to work in and may experience less conflict, but they tend to be less creative and produce greater pressures for conformity. In contrast, heterogeneous groups, whose members have a wider range of values and beliefs, are likely to experience greater conflict, but they have the potential for greater creativity and innovation.
Our shared values and beliefs certainly deliver less conflict, but we’ll leave it to you to decide whether it also means we are less creative!
We’re delighted to announce a new programme of seasonal and sustainable workshops for children and for adults, to give people the chance to get in touch with nature, recycle old furniture and decorate their homes. Take a look at our events page to see what’s on offer, and get in touch if you are a course provider looking for an inspiring eco venue to host your courses.
Today BBC Breakfast used Hockerton Housing Project (HHP) as the backdrop to their coverage of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report.
The IPCC has found that climate change is having a bigger impact than previously expected, and that temperature rises continue though they are slower than expected.
Science aside, HHP was delighted to be asked to show why sustainable living makes sense whatever your views on carbon and the climate.
The live broadcasts featured the zero carbon homes and renewable energy systems to show how action on carbon helps reduce energy bills, aids energy security, and galvanizes community spirit.
Simon Tilley talked through life at Hockerton Housing Project, “Our mission at HHP is to bring sustainability to life and what better platform than BBC Breakfast with its 7 million viewers? We were probably chosen because our homes look and feel different but the reality is that every home can become more sustainable: our approach to energy efficiency works in a townhouse, as seen in Southwell’s autonomous house; renewable energy is now more accessible thanks to the feed-in tariff and local community schemes; and it has been fantastic to see the resurgence of food-growing and the allotment movement.”
His daughter Naomi gave the most powerful line though. When asked by the presenter if she felt confident about the future, she replied “I’m not confident, I’m scared”. She later admitted that part of the fear was down to being interviewed live on national TV, but the line helped the coverage look beyond the current ‘debates’ to what we need to focus on – the legacy we leave for our children.
This week Kevin McCloud returned to the Hedgehog Project in Brighton on Grand Designs and showed how that housing co-operative has moved on from being an innovative self-build to building roots in the community – reflecting our experience here at Hockerton Housing Project.
We are hoping that the planners at Newark and Sherwood will have been watching, as a plan for a new self-build partnership in Hockerton is now under consideration. The plan is to demolish a redundant industrial building and replace it with five two-storey homes (up to 3 bedrooms) and two one-storey, one bed homes.
Hockerton Housing Project is supportive of the plans for a number of reasons:
The energy efficient design will deliver 80% less carbon and 60% lower running cost than homes built to today’s minimum standards.
Each dwelling will have a share in Hockerton’s community-owned wind turbine to ‘offset’ the carbon content of remaining energy use.
Rainwater harvesting and water efficient appliances will limit demand for mains water, and a reedbed will be used to avoid nasty odours from sewage.
Affordable housing allows people with a wider range of skills and expertise to live in rural areas.
The co-operative nature of the development, both in its build and its maintenance, means pride will be taken in the quality of the work on buildings and landscaping.
The more people resident in the village, the better for local businesses such as the farm shop, the pub, restaurant and ice-cream parlour.
Self-build partnerships are rare, but offer many benefits, so let’s hope the planning officials see the merit of putting brownfield land to better use as a site for new affordable homes in Hockerton, further strengthening the village’s reputation as a hub of innovative and affordable energy efficient homes.
If you are interested in understanding how we developed our self-build at Hockerton Housing Project, and how the co-operative works in practice, make a new year’s resolution to come on one of our Sustainable Living Tours – the next one is 19 January 2013.
Hockerton Housing Project has been hosting tours for over ten years, showing over 20,000 people around the Project and its homes to help them understand how homes and communities can meet the energy and environmental challenges of the 21st century.
The most frequent visitors come from our local universities in Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield, Loughborough and Lincoln but we’re keen to see more – both from other universities and from a greater range of courses. Our Project is not just about the housing or the technical infrastructure; it can be used to illustrate a range of studies including the politics of communities and the role of sustainability in health services.
Feedback suggests a visit to us can really inspire students…
Thanks again for a great day and for inspiring my students!
Reader in Environmental Geography, Geography Department,University of Leicester
It was a super experience and the students were buzzing all the way home.
Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham
Many thanks for another superb visit. It gives the students a real insight into the options for more sustainable living and really gives them something to think about.
Queen Elizabeth High School for Girls
I’d just like to thank you personally for inviting us in your homes and inspiring future generations with your amazing work. It was such a productive experience as we got to see everything we’ve been taught in our module in real life. I thought it was all just theory but to see it up and running and so successful gave me great joy.
Engineering student, Loughborough University
We’ve prepared a short guide to these visits for lecturers and teachers, and are keen to hear from lecturers how you think we could help you bring sustainability to life in your classroom or through a visit to Hockerton Housing Project.