Sustainable development company, Citu, has unveiled its vision to create a Climate Innovation District in Leeds.
Drawing on international best practice and harnessing the latest technology, the development will incorporate more than 500 new low carbon homes alongside manufacturing, leisure, offices and climate resilient public realm.
With an ambition to accelerate the transition towards zero carbon cities, the Climate Innovation District will forge a powerful collaboration with local and international partners to deliver an exemplar model of how to economically build zero carbon neighbourhoods that also provide healthier, smarter and better connected cities.
The £125m million scheme is a key part of the city’s development plans for South Bank Leeds, the largest, most ambitious city centre regeneration projects in Europe. Citu’s 15 acres of brownfield land played a vital role in the industrial and engineering revolution in the city, once home to an abundance of iron, steel, glass and chemical works. Straddling the River Aire, a key element of the Climate Innovation District will be the installation of a new pedestrian bridge across the river that will create a much needed link for existing and future residents. The innovative bridge design also will enable delivery of the city’s heat network to the South Bank, providing future resilience of low carbon heating.
Chris Thompson, managing director and founder of Citu:
“We are hugely excited to be launching what we expect will be a catalyst for the industry to help our cities transition towards being zero carbon. This is the biggest challenge of our generation and we need a step change in the way we develop our cities to reduce energy consumption in buildings and transport. We can make this into a viable economic model by using the latest technology and innovation from across the world.
We have worked with leading Swedish architect, White Arkitekter, to design our neighbourhoods, who have been behind many of the progressive new neighbourhoods in Scandinavia. The Climate Innovation District, and in particular South Bank Leeds, presents an enormous opportunity for Leeds to be the first city in the UK, and possibly Europe, to create an ecologically pioneering district of this scale.”
The homes will be a mix of 1, 2 3 and 4 bedroom ‘family’ houses based around a European model of medium density urban housing with high architectural and design standards that create homes that feel light, bright and well designed. Each home will have access to private outdoor space as well as being designed around some innovative public open spaces.
The homes will be timber framed and based on a ‘Citu House’; a product which was developed with Leeds Beckett University, with the help of an Innovate UK grant from national government. The homes will be designed and manufactured in controlled conditions in the nearby Citu Works factory, leading to a high quality, high environmental performance and consistent output. The completed homes will use substantially less energy than conventional homes and will be connected to smart districts that control and monitor district energy systems around the development.
“We very much welcome Citu’s investment in South Bank Leeds and their ambition to create a Climate Innovation District. As well as providing sustainable and affordable housing with great new outdoor spaces that will bring families back into the centre of the city, the project will also offer job opportunities for local people. Together with the nearby secondary and further education facilities now taking shape, this scheme will support the development of a strong local community that will be essential to the success of South Bank Leeds. We look forward to watching the development take shape.”
Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council