Hanley Grange EcoTown

Masterplan and infrastructure strategy for a new 15,000-resident, 264 hectare, zero carbon Eco-Town.

Hanley Grange, as one of fifteen development proposals short-listed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) was assessed for Eco-town status. The site is located south of Cambridge on 264 hectares, planned with open space, infrastructure, on-site amenities, schools, jobs, and leisure facilities providing a zero carbon development for 15,000 residents.

The vision sought to ensure Hanley Grange becomes a socially focused community – encouraging healthy living, life-long learning and connections to nature while maintaining a positive balance between residents’ work and home with zero carbon, zero waste and zero water targets. Centrally located employment is linked by circulation areas giving pedestrians priority encouraging walking, cycling, high quality public transport and car clubs. The project focuses on inter-related resource efficiencies and integrated low carbon solutions to evolve future town developments with a holistic approach to all aspects of daily life.

As part of a collaborative team, Sylvia developed a visionary strategy for implementing zero waste in the exemplar development using the waste hierarchy to promote waste prevention, minimisation and re-use prior to recycling, energy recovery and eventual disposal. The proposal encouraged social sustainability through community involvement, forming a holistic design solution created through systems that fed each other, where waste is reconsidered as a resource. Included are waste-to-energy systems using anaerobic digestion to fuel waste collection vehicles and on-site assembly of prefabricated construction elements. Energy options focused on a ‘measure, minimise and mitigate’ hierarchy, by reducing energy demand and using community combined heat and power to generate heat and electricity onsite.

"I worked with Sylvia on Hanley Grange Eco Town in 2008 and I was hugely impressed by her enthusiasm and flair for developing ideas for the project. This was major development of a community with 6,000 homes in the Cambridgeshire countryside. She looked at the whole issue of waste and the possibilities of starting from basics and developing the highest specification approach to waste management we could find for a new Eco Town. At the same time she made us all aware of the technological and cost limitations of the ideas. This made the selection of our preferred route for the waste concept very simple. I wish Sylvia well in her new venture and I am sure she will impress others in a similar manner."
- Richard Rees, Hanley Grange Eco Town Design Team Leader and Director of Urbanism, BDP

"This project required comprehensive and original thought, both in how we currently design things and in behavioral change of people once they have moved into the Eco-town. Sylvia was the principle sustainability champion on the design team, through solid research on localized issues such as waste and water, concepts were moved into the realms of reality with closed-loop systems becoming integrated into the design of the masterplan. She was seen not only as a font of knowledge, but also as an innovator and champion for better practice, inspiring the team to each raise their own performance for this demanding project through her passion and energy for the subject."
- James Warne, Environmental Engineering Director, BDP

"Sylvia was a key member of the design team and led on the development of the zero waste approach - with the integration of energy from waste, food production, recycling and black water treatment to create the conditions for a zero waste community through closed loop material flows. This approach has rarely been developed in the UK to such a level and as such required Sylvia to use high level conceptual thinking, appropriate implementation strategies and partnership with and leadership of the whole design team in order to move the process forward. Sylvia approached this challenging project with vision and dedication, developing a thoroughly researched, exceptionally presented concept of how developments could function in closed-loop systems, reducing and indeed eliminating the idea of 'waste'. Her energy and passion were consistent throughout the competition to evolve the best solution, working collaboratively and elevating the performance of those around her."
- Richard Buckingham, Head of Sustainability, BDP
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