Process & Tools
Working with and alongside the Impact Framework are a series of established Human Nature Processes and Tools that together represent the DNA of the business and are our primary means of fulfilling our purpose. Our process also involves various methodologies for public engagement. We benefit from the expertise of an extensive body of collaborators.
The chance to feel and be connected to others in safe, high quality spaces: to walk, to cycle, to play, to work, to breathe clean air, to share, but also to enjoy refuge and quiet. To live well within the planet’s means; to live a many-sided life.
The combination or amalgam of elements that make places inspire and support Remarkable Lives, minimise footprint and maximise handprint, be inherently adaptive and resilient to the tests of time and achieve exponential sustainability.
Raw + Craft
We design and construct simple, strong, resilient, natural structures across our portfolio of typologies that via their inherent quality are a sound investment. The materials are not only low carbon but with sound maintenance are long-lasting and will age with grace. Our houses are loose-fit, with broken-plan layouts and minimal fit-out. You, our future customer, will decide the look and feel. The materials we use are good enough to be left ‘raw;’ and with the money saved from the repeated use of disciplined typologies and well-resolved supply chain, we offer a ‘craft finish’ to give that extra human touch and distinctive feel. Or, you can finish it yourself!
Build & Design
Design and build processes often kick the life out of buildings. We prefer to establish how we are going to build our buildings as we design them to ensure that our values and priorities are ‘baked in’, resulting in highly desirable, sustainable buildings that are deliverable to time and budget.
In the early stages of a project, having studied the context and technical reports, we prepare a suite of ideas about place typology, designs, uses and activities. For each of these – usually up to 20 – our in-house design team (steeped in the HN modus and preferences) researches precedents that illuminate the idea and steer the external professional team and wider project stakeholders, bringing it to life from the get go. The magic of a new place is when these are woven together into a whole, with ideas ‘recycled’ through the design team and public engagement processes.
Knowing what outcomes we need to achieve via our Impact Framework, planning policies and economic appraisals, we work backwards to design a process of creative work, analysis and decision-making that gives the best chance of arriving where we intended.
Human Nature Typologies
We are evolving our core typologies for, inter alia, streets, blocks, housing, rooms, urban landscapes, urban ecology, play, work spaces. As these emerge over time and become ever more robust in regard to construction methodology and costing, we can focus more of our time on refinement rather than invention.
Diversity & Choice
A rich mix of housing tenures, typologies, price point and designs. Simple, elegant, robust structures that are adaptable to accommodate multiple configurations of households as families shift in size, income and in tastes over time, so that there is something for everyone.
Urban design is the process through which we assemble the parts of places. We look for compactness, connectivity, close-grained diversity, complexity, elegance and imperfection, interesting juxtapositions, legibility and intimacy. Masterplanning for us is a process not a thing. A masterplan is the product of an intense transdisciplinary exercise and not typically the work of a genius hand.
We look not so much to what people ‘want’ as to the choices we can provide that enable them to reach rich and informed decisions. The housing market is dominated by cookie cutter development with template housing, finishes and fit-outs. We seek to engage our customers early on to learn from them, to build trust and loyalty, to build-in choice, to provide something that meets their budget and that takes them on a sustainability journey. We are not (yet) mass market developers and will look to target a core of buyers and renters who wish to explore different, more sustainable and neighbourly ways of living – a certain intentionality.
The process of conceiving, designing and building our homes is rigorous and trans-disciplinary from beginning to end. Our IMPACT specialists work with our marketing experts who in turn engage future customers across our core markets. The architects and engineers work with our builders and all operate within a cost and value envelope provided by our appraisal team. This way of working, shamelessly copied from Steve Jobs, ensures incredible product – elegant and functional homes – at affordable prices.
We expect everyone in our teams to approach each situation and every challenge with curiosity. While everything we are and do is underpinned by our values and purpose, we know that every project is bound to throw up unique circumstances that require a fresh approach. We aim to retain an appetite for listening and learning, for responsiveness and the acuity to see things anew.
If values are tides, attitudes are waves and opinions are ripples, what is culture? The culture of Human Nature is founded in the determination to act – the power of doing – to go deep and be unafraid of complexity, to move fast, be collaborative, to look everywhere for insights, talent and alignment around bold ambition, to be rigorous, open and to work towards outcomes. We look to our people to be good listeners but also to stick to their guns – calling on our values and principles when things cut up rough. We’ll never do real estate – we are campaigners for better, fairer, more sustainable living.
“Human Nature start by shaping the process before they shape the place – first by cultivating the project team and the relationships which help to make great projects. They work through ‘deep collaboration’, establishing open and frank dialogue about the kind of quality places we want to live in and make, basing the results on evidence and knowledge as much as poetry and ‘wit’.”
James Hampton, New Makers Bureau
Design and Community Engagement Workshops