We Can Make uses an asset-based approach to re-imagine “how to do housing” differently. It starts with the know-how and resources the community already has, and uses a process of creative co-design to work with people to develop the tools to do housing on their terms.
These are the vital ingredients of the We Can Make approach:
We start with people. It’s opt-in densification – an elder may wish to downsize but stay in their community, or a family may be experiencing over-crowding.
The community sets the rules for what gets built through a Community Design Code, making it easier for people to navigate a complicated planning system, ensures homes are high-quality and add character to the neighbourhood.
Build for community infrastructure and benefit. When a family opts-in, the micro-site is transferred to our Community Land Trust. Transfer and planning permission is conditional on community ownership and fixing the rent at Living Rent. This represents a new supply of land exclusively for community-led homes.
We localise and de-carbonise the production of the homes using modular construction systems. The parts are made in our community fabrication space, KWMC The Factory, growing local jobs, skills and community wealth.
Unlocking micro-sites creates a new way for people and communities to make the homes they need, and in the process unlocks ways to help make a thriving neighbourhood.
We are now on site building our first two We Can Make homes. The homes should be finished early 2022.
One home is for John, a man who has lived and worked locally for over 20 years. Local residents Bill and Liam needed a smaller more manageable garden for health reasons, and saw We Can Make as a positive way to improve their situation and help someone else in need.
One home is for young mum Toni and her daughter Amancia. They are currently living in Toni’s parent’s house and desperate for a place of their own.
New homes for local people
If you think the We Can Make approach could help your family’s housing situation, please get in touch….
Sharing the learning with other communities
We Can Make is a live R&D process. What we discover and create is open for “adaptation and adoption” by others. Equally, we’d love to learn from other people and places who are trying new approaches to housing and neighbourhood regeneration. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The We Can Make housing initiative has moved a step closer to building affordable and sustainable homes in Knowle West: at the end of June 2020 the We Can Make team submitted plans to Bristol City Council to build the first two homes! We Can Make is a collaboration between KWMC and local residents. We've been working together since 2016 to develop new ways to meet housing need in...
Every two years Nesta and The Observer New Review showcase 50 individuals and organisations that are changing the UK for the better - and in 2018 a Knowle West initiative is one of them! Our We Can Make housing programme has been selected as one of 50 'New Radicals' - a list of individuals, organisations and initiatives from...
Working people can expect to pay around 7.6 times their annual earnings on purchasing a home in England and Wales: we urgently need new ways to meet housing need. Our We Can Make initiative proposes that one answer to the housing crisis could lie in people’s own hands and ‘micro-plots’ of spare land scattered across back-gardens and between buildings. We're...
Over the spring of 2017 a large wooden structure has slowly taken shape behind Filwood Community Centre. The moveable house is fully plumbed and wired, has walls made of straw bales, triple-glazed windows and a large wooden deck. Known as the TAM (Transportable Accommodation Module), the eco-friendly home is big enough to house a couple – and it will open its...