Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Cities / Healthy Cities

Healthy City Design 2018

From surviving to thriving: ‘Home for All Seasons’ – a model for resilient, healthy housing

By Fred London and Ed Barsley 24 Jan 2019 0

This talk explores a mix of strategies for adaptation and resilience in relation to existing and new-build contexts.


With climate change increasing both the frequency and severity of flood events, more communities worldwide are having to cope with catastrophic damage to the built environment and a lengthy, traumatic recovery process. During this time, the quality of placemaking is often severely degraded and the experiences of those affected can have long-lasting psychological impacts.

This paper will explore a mix of strategies for adaptation and resilience in relation to existing and new-build contexts. The primary case study is the ‘Home for All Seasons’, an approach based on resilience rather than resistance (eg, let the water in rather than keep it out), and designed to address not only flooding but also overheating, extreme cold, energy independence, and changes in societal needs. The benefits of the ‘10 key principles’ embedded in the ‘Home for All Seasons’ are explored in relation to creating healthy, resilient housing.

The 10 principles are incorporated in an overarching ‘placemaking’ approach to maximise the benefits to residents and the wider public realm. The principles are:

  1. habitable zones are positioned at first-floor level and above to ensure a high-flood datum design;
  2. the ground-floor ‘garden room’ zone is a flood-resilient, multi-use space that can be quickly adapted and cleaned post flood;
  3. the ‘causeway’ at first floor provides safe access and egress in a flood event, and reduces demand on emergency services;
  4. water and power utilities are elevated to first-floor level to enable continuity of services in a flood event;
  5. the buildings’ minimal hardstanding ‘footprint’ provides space for the integration of sustainable drainage systems or swales, and avoids displacing water to surrounding developments;
  6. house design is suited to a compact plot with reduced back-to-back distances;
  7. the building form encourages passive stack ventilation;
  8. thick and continuous super-insulated envelope to incorporate passivhaus principles;
  9. roof orientations support on-site energy generation; and
  10. the core house plan can be adapted to suit changing needs.