Tag Archives: tower blocks

Why old tower blocks should be included in new city visions

Block towers in Kennogton Park, London.UK cities have been growing in influence for some years now. This looks set to continue as the devolution debate rumbles on in the wake of the Scottish referendum.

At Green Alliance we’re interested in the potential of cities to add dynamism to the low carbon economy. They are well placed to realise the tangible benefits: through public transport improvements, growing low carbon industries and green jobs, and developing sustainable, liveable communities. Read more

Towering ambitions: bringing sustainable living to high rise homes

Towering ambitions picThis post is based on our new report Towering ambitions, which is launched today.

There are around 390,000 flats in high rise blocks in England, and they weren’t designed for low carbon living. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be transformed into sustainable beacons in our towns and cities.

Tower blocks have huge potential to be resource efficient and better connected, supporting stronger and more cohesive communities. There’s scope for shared low carbon heating systems, solar panels to power communal electricity needs, high quality recycling and food waste collections, increased water efficiency, well-loved green spaces, and safe, well-designed surrounding paths and streets to encourage cycling and walking. And tower block residents can feel a unique and strong sense of community, with the potential to support, engage with, and even run new green initiatives. Read more

How we greened an inner-city neighbourhood

EC1 Fluid building 2011  copy_2This is a guest post by Liz Kessler who developed a strategy to improve the EC1 area of south Islington, London. 

This project features as one of the inspirational examples in Green Alliance’s new report Towering ambitions, which will be launched at the Greening towers event tomorrow.

Since 2004 much of the EC1 area of south Islington, London, has been changed from a place that felt bleak, unsafe and colourless into one that feels safer, more attractive, neighbourly and vibrant. Read more

High rise hope: can tower blocks become models of energy efficiency?

This is a guest post by Sean Farrance-White, campaign manager at Rockwool UK.

It comes ahead of Green Alliance’s event next week Greening towers – can high rise living be sustainable?

When it comes to energy efficiency, tower blocks can be leaky. Often built at a time when energy efficiency standards were not a priority, they can be draughty, damp and expensive places to live. These issues can have social as well as environnental implications, leading to higher energy bills, more instances of fuel poverty, and even contributing to the wider public perception that tower blocks are ‘not nice places to live’.

Rockwool’s recent involvement in a landmark whole building retrofit at the Edward Woods Estate in the heart of West London has shown that consistent and well thought out refurbishment can drive social regeneration, as well as a reduction in resident’s fuel bills and lower carbon emissions. Read more

High ambitions for high rise sustainable living

This post is by policy adviser Hannah Kyrke-Smith.

On Monday 25 June 2012, we brought together the residents from an inner London high rise estate and three of their local councillors to take part in the first of three workshops we’re holding in estates across the city under our Towering Ambitions project.

We are looking into the sustainable living challenges faced by people in tower blocks. Visions of a greener, cleaner future often involve people living and working happily in tall, shining towers, taking advantage of the benefits they offer of saving space, reducing waste and maximising efficiency. Sadly though, the reality of tower block life is a long way from this vision and they can be among the least green places to live. And this problem is acute in many parts of London where nearly half the population lives in high density accommodation. Read more