Magic Triangle

Duneland’s goal to develop the ecovillage is achieved on the Magic Triangle (MT). We call the Magic Triangle “the jewel in the crown” as it completes The Park Ecovillage by connecting the Central area with Pineridge and Cullerne and places the Universal Hall in the heart of the village.

Long before the land actually belonged to the community it was perceived as an essential part of The Park and there was great faith that eventually it would be part of it and allow an integral development of the ecovillage to be completed.

This dream came one step closer when in 1997 the Wilkie Estate was offered to the community and Duneland Ltd. was set up to buy the land. Now with the development of housing on the MT this dream is becoming reality.

The MT is largely a brown field site left over from WWII when the RAF extended its runways into the dunes to disperse the planes in case of an attack. This resulted in extensive concrete areas as well as disturbed ground that was quarried when the runways were built. In the scars heathers and lichens create a beautiful natural cover amongst gorse and increasing tree regeneration.

A 3D fly-over shows the extent and contours of the MT.

The first step is East Whins, a developer-led co-housing cluster of 25 homes that will be built in 2012. There will be 10 two-bedroom houses, 3 three-bedroom houses and 12 two-bedroom flats. Download Architects brochure.

Eco features

–   Terraced design

  • Using land sparingly – reducing built-up  areas
  • Sharing walls
    • Saves building costs
    • More energy efficient
  • Facilitating co-housing concept

–   Solar design (show sun study diagrams)

  • All houses aligned to maximise passive solar gain
  • South/Southwest orientation
  • In rows
  • Sufficient distance between houses and from the woods
  • All houses with solar panels for hot water and possibly photovoltaics

–   Efficient Air Source Heat Pumps

  • Drawing energy from Findhorn Wind Park turbines.

–   Solid timber construction

  • Good thermal mass
  • Good sound insulation – particularly important between floors
  • Construction flexibility as wide span

Co-creation with Nature and the Community

–   Listening to the Land 1 and 2

  • Master plan
  • Relatively dense development on the brown field areas
  • Leaving near 50% of development land free of buildings

–   Natural and amenity areas

  • Fire pit
  • Dancing green
  • Power points and North axis
  • High dune ridge
  • Creating an opportunity for sensitive management of these areas by the community

–   Common land amongst the houses

  • In addition to small private gardens around each house
  • Nature of management to be determined by cluster residents
  • Options range from low impact dune gardens to an edible landscape following permaculture principles

Social integration

–   Developer-led co-housing

  • Lay-out supports co-housing principles
  • Collective facilities – common room, district heating system with biomass boiler, laundry, bike shed,  communal garden areas

–   Multi-generational

  • Ground floor flats in concept ideal for growing old gracefully in a  multi-generational context

–   Completion of eco village

  • Linking Cullerne, Pineridge and the central area
  • Putting the Universal Hall at the centre of the community rather than the edge
  • Providing much needed sustainable accommodation for residents

–   Mixed use concept

  • Integration of residential housing, small businesses and educational/community  facilities
  • This is a social concept taken for granted here in the community but treasured as a remedy to many modern problems by society at  large

Environmental responsibility

–    reduced car use – travel plan pdf

Finances

Affordability was one of the guiding principles for the development from the beginning. Our intention to create housing for community members already living here had to meet the reality that many core workers earn a minimum wage as they support charities and small local businesses. Access to capital and mortgages is limited for many. 8 units of the 40 planned for phase 1 could benefit from “planning gain” as Duneland as developer had to provide a subsidy. But we aim to provide more than that. We decided to develop 25 houses at once to create an economy of scale and appointed an architects firm with lots of experience working with housing associations here in Scotland. We are working with innovative models of housing cooperatives, fundraising campaigns and funding strategies that are based on inspiration and trust. Our sales strategy favors shareholders who have first right of refusal and then community members as we inform them first of any available properties. So far we have pre-sold all available units without any marketing done outwith the community. At this point Duneland Ltd is not speculating with house prices on the open market but offers fixed prices for pre-sale agreements that will be set according to the real costs incurred. The financing strategy in our current business plan is based solely on installments from the future buyers with the option of bank loans only as backstop. It speaks for the resounding support from the members of this community that all prospective buyers are very happy with these arrangements, with several even overpaying to help others with the schedule of payments as they need to sell their old home in order to raise the capital for their new one.