Hefted Housing in the Lake District

On the map: Burneside, Cumbria, UK

Core values: Community and Sustainability

Status: Competition, 2019

The story: UK landowners James Cropper plc, Ellergreen Estate and The Anglers Inn Trust are working on proposals to invest in the long-term, sustainable, mixed-use development of Burneside village. Regeneration specialists Igloo are development managers for the site. Young people are transforming city life. The days of ‘dog-eat-dog’ are over. Sharing is everything when it comes to home, workspace, food and ideas. Sadly, new rural housing can dampen this cooperative spirit in young country dwellers. We think there’s a need for a new approach. So we’ve designed a vibrant communal model that generates a vital natural resource: goodwill. 

The purpose: Aimed at the under 35s, our concept was inspired by a centuries-old farming method called ‘hefting’. Farmers graze their sheep on common land with no barriers between each other’s livestock. These hefted flocks are self-sustaining. They herd together, always find shelter and know the best place to find food. Our design is for a rural enclave that encourages young people to be just as self-sufficient. We call it ‘Hefted Housing’. Food is central to our model. Hefted Housing will give residents the chance to grow organic food, feed their families and become entrepreneurs. To kickstart this food revolution, design features include a glass greenhouse on the front of each home; edible gardens, and a ‘Food Hub’ where the whole community can meet, make, eat and market – from throwing a harvest moon dinner to housing a micro-distillery. Although inspired by rural living, Hefted Housing can create self-sustaining culinary clusters in villages, towns or even cities. We look forward to working with visionary partners to create our first community for the Goodwill Generation.