Sustainability at St Anns Mill

We are working with partners to create a national centre for demonstrating solutions to climate breakdown and living in zero carbon cities


All over the world, citizens, entrepreneurs and decision makers are coming together to build future cities. They are motivated by some simple ideas: challenges are mounting, current ways of working simply are not fit for purpose, change needs to be faster than is currently happening, countless micro examples exist and their potential needs unlocking, we need places that can understand, celebrate and connect them.

Sustain aims to be the UK’s leading place to create cities fit for tomorrow. It is much more than a centre to showcase sustainability or low carbon technologies. It is focused on unlocking ideas and action so that many people can come together tackle the challenges ahead.


The need

Cities face a perfect storm of challenges to their prosperity and sustainability for the future, including; inequality, crime and safety, housing shortages, infrastructure congestion, carbon dependency, environmental degradation, low skills, prolonged financial austerity, voter disconnection, poor working between tiers of government, rigid funding cycles, organisational silos and low levels of information. Repeated mistakes, cost over-runs and poor outcomes are all degrading public confidence that future challenges can be tackled.

Radical new ways of identifying problems, making decisions and bringing people together are needed – all in ways that an ensure prosperity, sustainability and social cohesion. This is where CSC comes in. It will showcase inspiring examples from across the world and bring together the public, researchers and innovators in identifying, co-learning and prototyping city solutions.

Sustain intends to be a genuine partnership space bringing together different sectors. It will focus on key areas of city life that need to be, and are being, transformed: transport, energy, food and nature, housing and work.

It will do this by:

  • Providing real world opportunities for research and learning from an early stage in
  • Co-create and share knowledge and understanding between different groups – communities, enterprises, policy makers, researchers, learners
  • Being an exemplar of sustainable good practice in urban scale developments
  • Recognising challenges, evaluating and adapting



  • Interactive public facing education area – prominent entrance location – content outlining challenges and pioneering examples across five key areas of city life: transport/energy/work/housing/food and nature
  • Civic innovation lab – large open space for meetings, groups, workshops etc
  • Informal meeting rooms – smaller private spaces for groups wanting to develop ideas and take action
  • Private visiting researcher/visitor rooms
  • Co-working space for young sustainability businesses
  • Maker-space for demonstration / home projects
  • Demonstration arena – for traders, talks, entrepreneurs to showcase innovations on rotating basis on different topics

The Centre will deliver all levels of education:

Higher Level education and research

Practical skills for sustainability (for householders as well as professional training)

Activities for schools and recreational visitors

Financial viability comes through room hire and direct bids to Higher Education Funding Council and other project funders


We are already working with – University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, the Centre for Alternative Technology, CEG (Kirkstall Forge), Arup and Buro Hapold, and over the next year we intend to build a committed team of businesses and groups that identify with these ideas.

The future of the St Anns Mill site will not be decided until at least 2021, so we are looking at temporary bases for activity in the near term.

Please contact us if you would like to be a part of our campaign. Paul Chatterton is the co-ordinator of the Sustain initiative and can be reached through [email protected] Attached a briefing note that can easily be shared

Sustain – A Description

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