In recent years, we’ve been involved in a variety of multiple-residence housing developments: large and small, urban and rural, low to high specification and lots between. One theme has been evident throughout - we Brits aren't good at sharing. Be it communal gardens, parking or facilities, we like to have total ownership and total control of our living environment. We need the proverbial white picket fence around our little slice of the planet.
On the continent, apartment-living is commonplace and often highly desirable, whereas in the UK there is still a stigma attached. Many Brits would shudder at the sight of a 1960s Sheffield tower block with concrete stairways, shared access walkways and communal parking and green areas.
One thing that seems to be shifting the mood is renewable energy or 'district' heating installations. The systems, often fuelled by biomass, hydro turbine or geo-thermal energy and entitled to large government payback schemes (the renewable heat incentive), are becoming incredibly attractive propositions for developers and home owners 'clubbing together' for mutual gain. In a world of rapidly depleting fossil fuels and ever-rising heating bills, centralised heating production has to be the future. Larger nuclear and coal-fired heating plants are going to become a thing of the past, with any luck.
It’s one more thing we have to thank green energy for: teaching us to share.