BLOG: Learning on location: the power of real world examples in sharing knowledge
Living examples of sustainable projects can make things happen! They bring out key learnings and sustainability practices from live projects which can used by other businesses, projects and local communities. The King’s Cross regeneration project, known as KX, is definitely one such example. We at UKGBC were delighted to utilise such a fantastic location in a recent bespoke two-day training course.
In the framework of the Building Capacity for Sustainable Development of the Built Environment (BC-SDBE), funded by the British Council Newton Institutional Links fund, the University of East London and the Ain Shams University of Cairo are working together to encourage knowledge transfer at an international level. UKGBC developed the bespoke training for the delegates of Ain Shams University of Cairo, including a site visit to the impressive new area behind King’s Cross station.
Find out more about the Kings Cross development here.
UKGBC member Argent were the main development partner on the successful regeneration of King’s Cross, one of the most significant urban development projects in the UK. The urban revival was complex, meeting the needs of high-profile businesses, local schools, Central St Martin University, restaurants and retailers, residential premises and many others.
I was struck by the harmonisation of such a diverse area with so many uses, the exemptional use of open spaces, and the coexistence of the built with the natural environment. Supporting the local biodiversity was a principle sustainability target for the development, and you can feel that it is successful as soon as you arrive. We were surrounded by an impressive variety of plants, bees and other insects which form part of the local urban ecosystem. Delivering a learning course on creating a sustainable built environment in such a location was a joy.
The key learnings from this site visit included everything from energy efficiency at a neighbourhood scale, to biodiversity, social value and cultural stewardship.
For our delegates coming from Egypt, a country with some of the most influential architecture in history, it was enlightening to see this merge of the old with the new, and really helped enforce the learnings from our training course. The preservation of the area’s rich industrial heritage and their conversion to high standard sustainable premises is truly inspirational. The buildings are revived and blended seamlessly with the modern new projects, achieving outstanding energy ratings. The King’s Cross regeneration project showed us that degraded areas in urban city centres could be revived sustainably, upgrading the existing building stock and developing the existing city infrastructure. Intervening on a neighbourhood scale is challenging but it provides a great opportunity to address energy, resources, waste and water management in a holistic way. And beyond that, the support and involvement of the local community and businesses is evident. This is the foundation to a project’s longevity.
We at UKGBC are proud to promote members’ examples like the KX, thank you Argent for hosting us and our Egyptian delegates.
You can download the sustainability report here.
Find out more about UKGBC’s bespoke learning here.