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Chapter 4 Low Impact Development: Radical Housing Solutions from the Grassroots

Enterprising Communities: Grassroots Sustainability Innovations

ISBN: 978-1-78052-484-9, eISBN: 978-1-78052-485-6

Publication date: 12 January 2012


Low impact development (LID) has been characterised as a radical approach to housing, livelihoods and everyday living which began in Britain in the 1990s as a grassroots response to the overlapping crises of sustainability (Halfacree, 2006; Maxey, 2009). It employs approaches that dramatically reduce humans’ impact upon the environment, demonstrating that human settlements and livelihoods, when done appropriately, can enhance, rather than diminish ecological diversity. However, LID is not solely concerned with the environment. It is also a direct response to social needs for housing, an anti-capitalist strategy forging alternative economic possibilities, and a holistic approach to living that pays attention to the personal as well as the political needs (Douthwaite, 1996). Thus, LIDs are a good vehicle through which to explore radical and innovative forms of sustainability and to critically assess their potential as a response to environmentally damaging ways of living. Rather than seeing LIDs as a rural back-to-the-land phenomena (Halfacree, 2007b; Jacob, 2006), this chapter argues that the movement is ‘engaged in social transformation through everyday-lived practice’ (Woods, 2008, p. 132).


Pickerill, J. and Maxey, L. (2012), "Chapter 4 Low Impact Development: Radical Housing Solutions from the Grassroots", Davies, A. (Ed.) Enterprising Communities: Grassroots Sustainability Innovations (Advances in Ecopolitics, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 65-83.



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