The Grand-Claud eco-neighborhood in Lurais, France is set to be a national example. The 470,000 Euro project, which started in 2009, took a long time to come to fruition. But, as of a few days ago, Lurais is in possession of the property for its new eco-neighborhood. The inauguration of the site permitted spectators to explore the different features that will be adopted. The plans for the eco-neighborhood take into account environmental, landscaping, and energy issues related to sustainable development and citizens’ quality of life.
Another Way of Life
“Such a process is long and complicated. There needs to be a lot of local support in order to get results,” underlined Jean-Paul Canteguet, President of the La Brenne Regional Nature Park. He could not hide his pride at having such an exemplary initiative taking place in his jurisdiction.
The project was, in fact, a winner on the national level. In December 2014, the Minister of Housing, Sylvia Pinel, gave the Mayor of Lurais, Alain Jacquet, a diploma officially recognizing the project as an eco-neighborhood. This is a first for the department, bringing some additional motivation to this commune of 248 inhabitants. The development receives technical support from La Brenne Regional Nature Park and financial support from the State, the Region, the Department, and Europe.
The planning for the pastoral Grand-Claud eco-neighborhood (which lies several hundred meters from town) cost a total of 470,000 Euros. The work was preceded by five visits to different eco-neighborhoods, which gave way to a design contest uniting eleven teams of young architects. The winning team was awarded management of the development.
Six ideas were at the center of the plans:
- The preservation of Lurais and its architectural cohesion,
- Water treatment,
- Environmental health,
- Communal spaces,
- Energy-saving techniques, and
- Waste management.
A visit to this unique housing project also reveals low, stone walls separating plots of private land from public space, a rainwater-collection site, a community orchard that is open to all, and roads that are to be treated as shared spaces.
“It is about creating a different way of life and making an ecological move,” indicated Alain Pasquer, President of the Community of Communes of Brenne-Val de Creuse. “This action is exemplary: in order to bring professionals to our area, we need to be able to welcome them by offering a good quality of life,” added Annick Gombert, Regional Councilor. Louis Pinton, President of the Departmental Council noted the “intelligence and finesse of this project, which corresponds to the needs of the population.”
Three construction permits have already been issued for the site. Future homeowners will, of course, benefit from a good amount of advice. They will also receive two free consultations with the lead architect, so that they can develop personalized, but bioclimatic houses.
The eco-neighborhood of Grand-Claud will be composed of thirteen plots of 700 square meters each, sold for 10,000 Euros each. The commune of Lurais and the founder of the project, will accompany those candidates wishing to settle in the neighborhood by welcoming them and directing them towards partnering services. They will also send out a practical guide that summarizes the ins and outs of the operation. The commune has also hired an advisory architect and has developed a zero pesticide goal for the maintenance of the town’s public spaces.
What would it take for you to live in an eco-neighborhood, if you don't? Would it be better to alter existing areas for new residents or create new eco-developments? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments area below.
Original article, originally published in French, here.
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