Gaia Education Case Studio: ShrubhillWorks


ShrubhillWorks Case Studio

Findhorn College: MSc in Sustainable Community Design, 2011

Student: Michael Bryan

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ShrubhillWorks illustrates the renewal of a 5-acre brown-field site in the Leith district of
Edinburgh into a new sustainable community. The scheme incorporates suitable green
technologies and passive designs, minimising the impact on the surrounding land whilst
addressing local housing issues. The site will see the creation of 122 affordable homes,
shared communal facilities, a community education centre and a new sustainable transport connection. Urban and natural environments will be linked, turning the site into a new hub of biodiversity.

Today’s new housing projects tend to focus on the energy reductions available through
technological solutions. Whilst valid, the negative result of this myopic approach is that it
encourages energy consumption by facilitating reduced service costs. It is clear that
behavioural change to a more sustainable lifestyle needs to be encouraged. By taking a
more holistic approach to design and re-establishing the role of community it is possible to  stimulate people’s behaviour positively towards the environment and their personal
relationships with one another. ShrubhillWorks endeavours to achieve this by combining two major design principles to create an infrastructure for biodiversity and community life to flourish and energy use and resource consumption to fall: Co-housing and Permaculture.

ShrubhillWorks site was once home to Edinburgh.s bus and tram network. Large listed
Victorian workshop buildings sit at the northern boundary, most notably a large red brick
chimney. To the east lies listed 19th century buildings of a housing type unique to Edinburgh

– Colony Housing. This style attempted to develop co-operative affordable housing, avoiding
the prevalent tenement block design and providing affordable housing with gardens. To the south lies Shrubhill House, a dilapidated 1960’s former council office block with a solid concrete structure that faces Leith Walk, a major retail and transport thoroughfare. All buildings are suitable for refurbishment and retrofitting. Along the western boundary of the site runs a 3-mile railway line due to close in 2015.

Cohousing addresses two key elements of the Edinburgh Local Biodiversity Action Plan:
greater community participation and encouraging partnership working. In today’s economic climate where many biodiversity conservation projects are suffering cutbacks, individual and community participation is increasingly important. Cohousing inhabitants enjoy increased levels of social interaction created through a sense of neighbourhood with a diverse mix of age groups, families and singles whilst maintaining self-contained accommodation and personal space. The scheme reduces material consumption and individual ownership by providing its residents with access to shared facilities including gardening, food production, laundry, childcare, communal dining space, workshops and guestrooms. Cohousing creates an environment where the formation of social organisational structures to maintain the shared facilities is essential and encouraged. Community responsibilities could be broadened to include the development, supporting, and monitoring of local endangered species and habitats, linking local action to a global cause.

The redevelopment of the tram buildings to the rear of the site will provide a social link to the wider community, with one building acting as communal facilities for Shrubhill’s Co-housing, the other functioning as a community and education centre promoting biodiversity, e.g. through school visits and film screenings.

The cluster formation adopted in ShrubhillWorks is scaled towards the effective use of
.goods and services’ provided by nature, such as clean air, water, food and other materials integral to our wellbeing. The site will take full advantage of the area.s high rainwater levels through the widespread deployment of rainwater butts connected to rooftop guttering, collecting water for reuse in soil irrigation or in grey water sanitary products within the dwellings. SUDS and permeable paving will be in place to dispose of any excess water effectively. A wastewater treatment system of large reed ponds will provide suitable grey, water clean enough to be feed into the local Water of Leith waterway. By incorporating large-scale green spaces, an improvement in air quality will allow natural ventilation to be adopted in the redeveloped Shrubhill House. A ventilated timber wall panel system and passive stack ventilation will provide an efficient air-flow, reducing the need for mechanical extract ventilation. Trees around the site will also provide protection from prevailing winds and noise from nearby traffic. The scheme furthermore aims to minimise car use. Excellent public transport connections will be complemented by a community car club.

Minimal car parking will be provided in the peripheral areas of the site, with access for
services such as waste collection and maintenance. The removal of cars from the interior of the development will allow biodiversity to mature and provides a safe environment for its younger inhabitants. In addition, the rail track will be transformed into a cycle path linked to the cycle route network and wildlife corridor extension.

A district heating system working in conjunction with a combined heat & power generator will supply the electrical and heating requirements for the new development. Passive Solar gain will be utilised in all apartments through the orientation and incorporation of south facing solar buffers.

By adopting the principles of Permaculture, productive, non-polluting, self-reliant settlements can be created. Permaculture is about collaborating with nature, adding and cultivating soils, cleansing water and creating new habitats for biodiversity, adding rather than subtracting from our natural environment. Priority will be given to this when coordinating the project workflow, allowing the green spaces to .bed in’ before construction works begin. Extending the existing wildlife corridor running parallel to the site creates a wild zone where natural eco-systems can be studied. Habitats for local invertebrates including white snails, slow worms, common dormice and wood-Sage Plum will also be created. Other zones will allow for cultivation of plants on the Scottish Biodiversity List, including heather, marsh violet, wood sage, wax caps and various fungi. The reed ponds will provide suitable environments for great crested newts and water voles. Existing buildings and structures will be adapted to encourage the reintegration of particularly vulnerable species, including large garden bumblebees and bats through the inclusion of rooftop beehives and a bat spiral. Bullfinches, skylarks, swifts and swallows will all benefit from these new habitats and nest-boxes placed around the site.





Recientemente traíamos una serie de Post acerca de las Ecoaldeas y el significado que han tenido o pueden tener en un corto plazo. Dentro de los recursos señalábamos a Gaia Education como escuela de formación en el diseño de Ecoaldeas:

Traemos los “Estudios del Caso” de los proyectos presentados por sus estudiantes.

Educación Gaia, Educación para la Sostenibilidad, DEDS

Educación Gaia promueve un enfoque holístico de la educación para el desarrollo sostenible.

Desarrolla programas de estudios para el diseño de comunidades sostenibles basados en buenas prácticas de ecoaldeas de todo el mundo. Trabaja en colaboración con comunidades urbanas y rurales, universidades, ecoaldeas, agencias gubernamentales y no gubernamentales y Naciones Unidas.

Gaia Education fue creada por un grupo de educadores llamados "GEESE" (Global Ecovillage Educators for a Sustainable Earth: Educadores Globales de Ecoaldeas para una Tierra Sostenible, acrónimo que también significa en inglés ‘Gansos’), que han estado reuniéndose a lo largo de una serie de encuentros con el fin de formular un enfoque transdisciplinario a la educación para la sostenibilidad. Estas reuniones tuvieron lugar en:

* Fjordvang, Dinamarca en 1998
* Fundación Findhorn, Escocia en 2004
* Galgafarm, Hungría en 2005
* Wongsanit Ashram, Tailandia en 2007
* Solheimer, Islandia en 2008
* UMAPAZ, Brasil en 2010
* Duesomegaard, Dinamarca en 2011
* Rio+20, Brazil in 2012


Las ecoaldeas en todo el mundo ofrecen valiosas experiencias y lecciones sobre el diseño y creación de comunidades sostenibles en zonas rurales y urbanas. Gaia Education tiene una determinación clara en conseguir que los conocimientos y habilidades desarrolladas en las ecoaldeas sean accesibles a una amplia audiencia.

El primer hito en el desarrollo de Gaia Education fue el lanzamiento de un innovador plan de estudios sobre Educación para el Diseño de Ecoaldeas, durante la conferencia del 10mo aniversario de la Red Global de Ecoaldeas que tuvo lugar en la ecoaldea Findhorn en octubre de 2005.

El segundo fue el lanzamiento del programa virtual Gaia Education Diseño para la Sostenibilidad, GEDS, en colaboración con la UOC – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya – en octubre de 2008.

El tercer hito fue la puesta en marcha del programa de posgrado Diseño para la Sostenibilidad de Educación Gaia, una vez más en colaboración con la UOC, en octubre de 2011.

Desde 2006, Educación Gaia ha apoyado con éxito la realización de más de 135 programas en los cinco continentes. A nivel internacional, el número de cursos intensivos de cuatro semanas de duración y otros formatos de cursos están en constante aumento, junto con un fuerte incremento en el número de solicitantes y participantes de estos cursos. Estos cursos de formación están abiertos a un grupo diverso de personas con una amplia gama de antecedentes académicos y profesionales que estén interesados en tomar un papel activo en la transición a la sostenibilidad.
En lo que respecta a la enseñanza superior y cursos acreditados académicamente, hasta el momento Educación Gaia ha avalado una serie de programas de pregrado de un semestre de duración ofrecidos por Living Routes y la Universidad de Massachusetts, que se imparten en diferentes ecoaldeas de todo el mundo.

El plan de estudios Educación para el Diseño de Ecoaldeas, EDE, es una contribución oficial a la Década para la Educación en Desarrollo Sostenible de Naciones Unidas – DEDS 2005-2014.

En diciembre de 2002, la resolución 57/254 de Naciones Unidas sobre la Década para la Educación en Desarrollo Sostenible (2005-2014) fue adoptada por la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, y la UNESCO fue designada como la agencia líder para la promoción de la Década. La Década tiene como objetivo integrar los valores inherentes al desarrollo sostenible en todos los aspectos del aprendizaje para promover cambios en el comportamiento que permitan una sociedad más justa y viable para todos.

Durante esta década, la educación para el desarrollo sostenible contribuirá a preparar mejor a los ciudadanos para afrontar los retos del presente y el futuro, y a quienes toman las decisiones para que actúen responsablemente para crear un mundo viable. Por lo tanto, se reforzarán los cinco tipos de aprendizaje fundamentales: aprender a conocer, aprender a hacer, aprender a ser, aprender a vivir juntos y aprender a transformarse uno mismo y la sociedad.

Descargar DEDS 2005-2014: Revisión de los Contextos y Estructuras para la Educación para el Desarrollo Sostenible 2009

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