Social Ethics

'Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference'.

Joel Barker


Social Ethics




Otherwise Living


Small Footprint Lifestyle


Urban Housing Issues
The Current Situation


“Mixed communities matter. Current policy changes in welfare policy and housing policy threaten to undermine further the existence of these communities. Low cost housing is disappearing, and what low cost housing exists will become unaffordable to the majority of people, drastically changing the demographic make-up of our city. "
Jules Pipe, Chair of London Councils and Mayor of the London borough of Hackney

After consistently falling for years, homelessness is once again on the rise and figures released recently show that nearly 40,000 people in London live in temporary accommodation. This is affected by a whole host of factors, including:

• The housing benefit cap which will drive more people into poverty. Where properties are available, it will force people to move to cheaper areas, leading to the breakdown of established social networks and communities.

• Extending the Right To Buy reduces the already vastly inadequate stock of social housing. Across the capital, more than 360,000 people are on council waiting lists.

• Artificial cap on councils borrowing means that housing associations and councils cannot borrow what they need to build new homes, which are desperately needed.

• There are almost five million people in Britain who are not earning a living wage and therefore are working hard but still cannot afford to feed their families or heat their homes, and struggle to meet transport costs.

Individual debt is rising; Citizens Advice said it had seen the number of clients with debts including payday loans rise from 1% in the first quarter of 2009/10 to 10% in the same period of 2012.[i]

Unemployment is still unacceptably high at around 8% and there has been a decrease in the real value of wages, meaning that people in low paid work or part time work are finding it particularly hard to make ends meet.

Young people are finding it especially difficult to get decent employment. The education and training systems that we have in place are letting young people down. They do not equip people for the workplace, or encourage personal development, creativity and initiative.

There is increasing food poverty in urban areas with more people resorting to the use of food banks. Diet and lifestyle related illnesses such as type II diabetes and obesity are on the rise.
The food system is under increasing stress from a variety of socio-economic factors including:

• Increasing food prices
• Climate change
• Food waste
• Food scares

The situation to which we are responding in terms of the environment is one of uncertainty. Whilst we are all aware of climate change, none of us knows precisely in what ways it will affect us or how extreme and consistent the effects will be.

We need to take practical steps to address all of this.

Read more about LCNC’s response to the present situation.
Our Response
“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker

LCNC is a model of living differently in London that aims to be socially, environmentally and financially sustainable.

Social sustainability promotes interdependence as a way of looking after the diverse needs and interests of an Intergenerational Housing Co-op that has both aging members and young families. The multistakeholder structure means that tenants, users of the community space and non-user investors are all included in decision making. LCNC will be based within a geographic community as an open and supportive neighbour.

LCNC’s community centre will provide space for local, regional and national groups to meet, work and learn together. The community centre will offer life long learning opportunities for everyone. We also plan to provide formal apprenticeships in sustainable building techniques, urban agriculture and hospitality.

The key steps in developing a more sustainable local food system that ensures no one goes hungry requires comprehensive food education from seed to plate alongside a transformation in urban agricultural practices. Growing Otherwise, part of LCNC, will encourage:

• Community gardens
• Community food co-operatives
• Buying groups
• Vegetable box schemes.

In terms of environmental sustainability, LCNC sees itself as part of a global movement of Ecological Cities which enables their residents to live a good quality of life while using minimal natural resources. They do so by:

• Using local materials, and local energy, air and water flows (sunlight, wind and rain) to the best advantage.

• Incorporating natural ecosystems into urban areas to host local wildlife.

• Using vegetation to control urban microclimates – to stabilise temperature and humidity.

• Enhancing the life of the community and relationships between people, by creating convivial social environments.

• Supporting an innovative culture which enables people to flourish and develop their creative potential and use new technologies.

With thanks to Christie Walk, Adelaide. For more about Ecological Cities click here.

We don't know exactly what the future holds for us in terms of global warming and what its different impacts will be on London. However, the more flexible and adaptable our building design and the more low impact our construction methods and materials, the more successful we will be at meeting the needs of the people who live, work and play here.

Although we know that we cannot get rid of all of the problems we face today straight away, we want to make a start by providing affordable housing which is responsive to the needs of the existing local community. By self building we will reduce costs and this enables LCNC to offer fair rent housing that is desperately needed, providing tenants with housing security. Low impact and low toxicity are also part of our environmental building principles. However this does not mean low performance. Straw has excellent insulation properties for heat and sound, is easy to use and is very low in toxicity, an important thing to consider for the health and wellbeing of residents and users of the buildings.

Financial sustainability means all sectors of the community being able to afford good quality housing, good food and local opportunities for work, learning and leisure. In the current economic climate many people are forced to turn to loans that they cannot afford. To address this, Finance Otherwise, one part of LCNC, offers small loans to individuals and start up businesses. It is essential that people have access to affordable flexible places to work, particularly in the changing financial environment. This will be an integral part of the community centre.

LCNC as a collective has been proactive in building our capacity through training, networking and skill sharing. We are excited and motivated about the projects that we have started and those currently being developed.

We continue to realise our vision through exploration, evaluation and monitoring how we do things. We are constantly adapting, changing what does not work for us, learning from our mistakes and finding new ways of doing things.

We are grateful to a wide variety of organisations and individuals who have supported and encouraged us to get this far. Many continue to work in collaboration with us to develop an urban lifetime neighbourhood.

Our Volunteers and Friends
Capital Growth
CAVE Co-operative
Community Matters
Chris Furnell, Co-operative Enterprise Hub, Development Consultant
The Drive Housing Co-op
Finance Otherwise
Glasshouse
Granville Community Centre
JustSpace
London Permaculture Network
London Rebuilding Society
LCHC (London Community Housing Co-operative)
Organiclea
The Otherwise Club
The People’s Kitchen
The Plunkett Foundation
Radical Routes
Sanford Housing Co-op
Bee Rowan and Chris Hawker, Strawbuild
Alex Lawrie and Kate Whittle at Somerset Co-operative Services
Seeds For Change
Sustain
Trafford Hall, National Communities Resource Centre
Giulia Toscani
Transition Town Kensal to Kilburn
Unity Trust Bank
Vine Housing Co-op
Nick Waite’s Associates
Alternative Housing History
• De Flat Amsterdam
Spreefield Genossenschaft, Berlin
Kalkbreite, Zurich
Straw bale construction High Ongar, Essex and Waddington Lincolnshire

Community Land Trusts (CLTs)
CLTs put the assets into community partnership ownership[.
Residents, the wider community and the local experts govern CLTs.
They are gaining in popularity shown by the rise in use of this form of ownership
Examples
East London http://www.londonclt.org/

Co-operative Housing
Collectively owned and often democratically managed housing by the people housing..
There are also tenant managed co-ops and short like housing co-ops which usually lease from a private landlord or council
Examples
The Vive Co-op
Coin Street Co-op
Sanford Co-op
Westminster Co-op
Kilburn Co-op
Co-housing, Residents live in individual houses but come together to manage their communities and shared activities

Older Women's Co-housing (OWCH)
Mutual Home Ownership Societies
These are another way people can jointly own property in co-operative housing. People own multiple share in organisations that own the homes.
Examples
Walterton and Elgin Community Homes (WECH) ?
LILAC, Leeds

Other forms of Collective / Custom Build
Someone who directly organises the design and construction of their new home. Tends to be delivered by developers or helps a group of people build their own home.

Otherwise London


Our Central Hub


Architecture
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Local Community & Neighbourhood
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Regeneration
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Building & Construction
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SixMix


Urban Living Model


Otherwise Food
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Otherwise Learning
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Otherwise OwnSpace
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Otherwise SmallFunds
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Otherwise Wellbeing
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Otherwise Workspace
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