BedZED and after - the enduring influence of Britain’s best known eco-district
Text: Oliver Lowenstein
Author: Oliver Lowenstein
One of, if not the key sustainable housing projects of the early 2000’s in Britain was BedZED, the South London eco-district. The result of five years work, BedZED (short for Beddington Zero Energy Development) would become the high profile example of how housing projects could be done in a very different, radically sustainable manner.
It also pushed the two main organisations which had made BedZED happen into the limelight; Bill Dunster, the architect, who had recently left Michael Hopkins Architects after 14 years overseeing their greenest projects, and BioRegional, at the time a small local organisation which had emerged out of South London’s networks of grassroots ecological activists. In the intervening period, both ZEDFactory (Dunster’s architectural practice) and BioRegional have grown and developed significantly, becoming fixtures in the sustainable building world. ZEDFactory were part of the Shanghai Expo demonstration projects, and have major housing projects on site in two cities in China.
BioRegional have continued to develop OnePlanetCommunities out of their BedZED experience. Today they have a network of partners around the world, while also acting as consultants – for instance, for the Olympics – carrying out research and running environmental projects within and across BedZED’s neighbouring South London boroughs.