The 2008 – 9 Transition Hub Vision

 — in detail (for future reference!)

The Transition Hub idea as detailed in our 2008 – 9 bid which — while unsuc­ces­ful in secur­ing fund­ing — has helped devel­op our vis­ion for sus­tain­able, inspir­ing and cre­at­ive ways of meet­ing our com­munity’s needs.

The Transition Hub will:

  • House a range of ser­vices that meet loc­al social, cul­tur­al, eco­nom­ic, and envir­on­ment­al needs;
  • Enable PEDAL to devel­op a range of enter­prises that both sus­tain the build­ing and gen­er­ate a sur­plus for re-invest­ment locally;
  • Be a show­case of envir­on­ment­al excel­lence in the built envir­on­ment, provid­ing demon­stra­tion and inspir­a­tion to loc­al people and to oth­er communities;
  • Stimulate and sup­port col­lect­ive action for a more sus­tain­able Portobello, by bring­ing loc­al people togeth­er and enabling them to make devise and run their own pro­grammes of activity;
  • Offer inform­a­tion and inspir­a­tion that equips indi­vidu­als to make more sus­tain­able choices in their daily lives.

It will do all this in a way which is really attract­ive, draw­ing people in because of what they can get from it, while at the same time enabling and encour­aging them to put their energy into the com­munity, to real­ise that we can improve our own lives by improv­ing the life of the com­munity as a whole. An inclus­ive feel and flex­ible terms of use will encour­age high levels of use and ensure the com­munity ‘owns’ the space in more than just leg­al terms.

At the same time, sus­tain­able income streams will be gen­er­ated from a vari­ety of sources – includ­ing lets, retail, events and New Deal fees – to ensure the Transition Hub can be sus­tained and to fin­ance oth­er loc­al ini­ti­at­ives. Our cash flow pro­jec­tions show the hub becom­ing sus­tain­able by the end of year three and gen­er­at­ing profit bey­ond that time.

The Hub will have a strong cul­tur­al and enter­tain­ments ele­ment, and provide space for activ­it­ies for all ages. It be used by a wide vari­ety of loc­al groups, such as those focussed on youth, music, cul­ture, the arts, edu­ca­tion, human rights, the envir­on­ment, recre­ation, and loc­al his­tory. It will encour­age syn­er­gies between these groups, enabling new con­nec­tions to be made and cross-fer­til­isa­tion of ideas. The key will be mix­ing social activ­it­ies with loc­al ser­vice pro­vi­sion to enhance social cap­it­al (net­works, trust and reciprocity).

PEDAL’s pion­eer­ing envir­on­ment­al eth­os will be demon­strated through the design of the build­ing, which will be assessed against BREEAM cri­ter­ia with a require­ment to achieve an exem­plary per­form­ance equi­val­ent to an ‘out­stand­ing’ accred­it­a­tion. The building’s car­bon per­form­ance over its entire lifecyle will be assessed at the out­set, enabling us to design a build­ing that is almost entirely car­bon neut­ral, while also sig­ni­fic­antly redu­cing its run­ning costs. Passive design fea­tures will min­im­ise energy demand, and resid­ual demand will be met via on-site gen­er­a­tion from renew­able sources. Materials used will be nat­ur­al, dur­able, high in recycled con­tent, recyc­lable and loc­ally sourced where pos­sible. Rainwater will be reclaimed and re-used which togeth­er with low flush toi­lets and low flow taps will reduce water use to a min­im­um. The use of nat­ur­al mater­i­als and nat­ur­al vent­il­a­tion will aim to provide an intern­al envir­on­ment which is as healthy as possible.

Alongside the pro­vi­sion of high qual­ity inform­a­tion dis­plays and edu­ca­tion­al pro­grammes with­in the build­ing, these fea­tures will cre­ate a place that both inspires and equips people to take action to reduce their impact on the envir­on­ment, save money and improve their qual­ity of life.

Portobello Transition Hub will be designed to respond to chan­ging loc­al needs over time. However there are clear pri­or­it­ies at present, including:

  • A large space for events that show­case loc­al tal­ent and loc­al pro­duce — such as food mar­kets, fairs, music­al per­form­ances, exhib­i­tions, drama, parties, and a film club with screen­ings based on DVD technology.
  • Smaller spaces avail­able for hire to com­mer­cial and com­munity organ­isa­tions, provid­ing for offices, meet­ings, train­ing, youth groups and a crèche.
  • A music record­ing stu­dio will be let on a com­mer­cial basis, also enabling the Hub to sup­port train­ing pro­grammes for aspir­ing young musi­cians and sound engineers;
  • A small café and shop, provid­ing hot and cold food and drink, a book­shop, and a sales out­let for loc­al food producers;
  • An exhib­i­tion area that enables vis­it­ors to find out about loc­al groups and activ­it­ies, how they can reduce their envir­on­ment­al impact and a loc­al exchange trad­ing scheme (LETS).