Hyde Farm Climate Action Network (CAN) was set up in 2007 to raise awareness climate change and energy consumption across households in the Hyde Farm estate, Balham, London. The Hyde Farm estate consists of 1,800 residential houses built between 1896 and 1916. The majority of these houses are of Edwardian character, with solid walls, high ceilings and single glazed windows. The houses have generally been draughty and difficult to keep warm. Between 2007 and 2011 the members of Hyde Farm CAN undertook several activities to improve the housing stock in their area. Activities have included draught-proofing measures via a regular Draughtbusting Saturday event, installation of loft insulation and renewable energy generation, as well as encouraging people to grow community gardens. Residents at Hyde Farm have also been active in other community groups across London, including organisations such as Transition Town Brixton, Repowering South London, Brixton Energy and local food growing networks in Lambeth. This innovation history traces the story of Hyde Farm CAN, highlighting the learning involved in setting up and running a community energy group, as well as what it has been like for them to seek for external support and work with funding organisations.
Each case study is written up as an ‘Innovation History’, allowing participants to explain their own individual stories, with researcher reflections and insights inserted into the text.
Ro Randall – founder of Carbon Conversations – stated how the innovation history approach, and conceiving of Carbon Conversations as an ‘innovation’, had made her think about things in a new way. She says:
“Reading your draft has helped me reflect on the relationship between innovation/innovators and the networks of people and support that give them space to innovate. Innovation often gets seen as having an ’author’, rather than being a group or network product and although I was pivotal, Andy’s role was absolutely key. I could have innovated my socks off but without his technical expertise – from knowledge of the science and technology, through to his ability to manage the finances and website – little would have happened. Beyond that there has been a much larger network of people who have contributed to the project and perhaps don’t get recognised as they should. Maybe there are inevitable tensions between innovative projects and the environments that nurture them. Good reflective practice can certainly be helped by having people from the outside taking a look – they see different things, offer other frameworks and that can be really useful.”
We hope you enjoy our Innovation Histories, we will make them available here throughout 2012 as they are completed.