The development on the site of the former Woolworth store in Swansea city center is being hailed as a first for the UK. While the mixed-use regeneration development on the city's Oxford Street will provide affordable new homes and workspaces it will also be alongside a community urban farm.
The project features two south-facing greenhouses at roof level, the largest of which will be serviced by an aquaponics system designed to produce up to 4.5 tonnes of fruits, vegetables, salads and herbs per year. Biophilic Swansea’s aquaponics fish tanks and associated equipment will be developed in partnership with Swansea University’s Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) and will form part of an education and public display on the ground floor of the tower.
The vision for Biophilic Swansea includes residents running and managing the urban farm as a social enterprise. This is founded on research demonstrating that reconnecting with nature is essential to our well-being and that there are positive community and health outcomes from growing food and living more closely with the natural world.
The project is a mixed-use development that includes affordable and shared ownership housing, as well as retail and low carbon commercial office space. It is expected that the high-quality inner-city apartments will be attractive to families, professionals and older people, balancing the recent trend for student housing with a more varied mix of accommodation.
David Dolman, Head of Development of Hacer, said: “There is an urgent need for housing and mixed-use developments that are sustainable in terms of their environmental impact and economic viability, as a response to the climate emergency and to ensure greater resilience and well-being for urban communities.
“Thanks to the support of Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme and the approach of the local authority, this project will incorporate innovative technologies and community features to illustrate a new way of urban living across Swansea city centre and beyond.
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