Pobl Group, in partnership with Hacer Developments, is proud to provide an exciting update on the ground-breaking ‘Biophilic Living’ project, which is set to redefine urban living in the heart of Swansea city centre.

Funded through a combination of private funding, the Welsh Government Innovative Housing Programme Grant, Social Housing Grant, Transforming Towns Programme, and Property Development Grant, this progressive mixed-use regeneration development, situated on the site of the much-loved former Woolworths store on Oxford Street, is already making waves as a pioneer of sustainable, community-centric living in the UK.

Building work on the Biophilic Living project is now well underway, marking a significant milestone in the journey to bring this revolutionary concept to life. The 13-storey concrete frame is nearing completion, creating a new landmark in the city centre. Works to the steel framing system (SFS) that will make up the external walls will begin shortly, followed by the fit-out stage. Completion is programmed for October 2024.

Amy Prince, Project Manager for Pobl said “The Biophilic Living development is such an exciting project for Pobl to be involved with. It’s focus on wellbeing, combined with the provision of high quality and affordable accommodation promises to provide a unique new community in the heart of Swansea.”

David Dolman, Head of Development at Hacer Developments said “Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme has provided an opportunity to change our approach to affordable housing developments, and to test a new way to develop for the future.

“The project aims to reduce the operational energy use by utilising renewable energy and high efficiency heating systems, but the primary innovation is the inclusion of the roof-top greenhouses and gardens, which are aimed to reconnect people with nature, and provide a shared purpose for the residents that will encourage a cohesive community, that aims to tackle issues surrounding loneliness, health and wellbeing, which is as big an issue as the climate emergency.

“This has been by far the most interesting, challenging and rewarding project I have been involved with, and it will hopefully provide an example of how we can regenerate cities in the future.”

This project is a testament to the power of collaboration, as it brings together various local organisations, including Swansea University, the Active Building Centre, Public Health Wales, and several community groups.

Biophilic Living incorporates cutting-edge technologies and community features that will reshape the landscape of inner-city housing in Wales. The project is driven by a shared vision of creating sustainable, environmentally friendly living spaces that enhance the well-being of urban communities.

The centrepiece of this transformative development is the integration of urban farming, a concept that promises to reconnect residents with nature. Research has consistently shown that reconnecting with nature and living in proximity to the natural world can have profoundly positive effects on mental and physical health.

The scheme aims to empower its residents to manage and run the urban farm as a social enterprise, promoting community engagement and well-being. Two south-facing greenhouses at roof level will be equipped with aquaponics systems designed to produce up to 4.5 tonnes of fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, and herbs annually. This sustainable system utilizes waste from on-site fish tanks to nourish the greenhouse plants, creating a closed-loop cycle that maximizes efficiency.

This mixed-use development is set to include 50 homes for social rent through a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments, as well as retail and low-carbon commercial office spaces. The project’s design enhances its appeal to a diverse range of residents, including families, professionals, and older individuals, contributing to a vibrant, inclusive urban environment.

The old Woolworths building will undergo redevelopment with additional floors and a new tower element at the rear, connecting seamlessly to a dynamic multi-use public realm. This space will become a hub for cultural activities, events, and street markets, further enriching the urban experience.

 

Biophilic Living Swansea is set to revolutionize urban living, championing sustainability, community, and well-being. With its commitment to innovative technology, environmental responsibility, and social cohesion, this project is not only a first for the UK but a beacon of hope for cities worldwide.

For more information, please visit https://www.biophilicliving.co.uk