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Human Nature

There is a far, far better world. But it has to be seen to be believed.

The Human Nature Approach

Key processes, principles and concepts that combine to deliver an exponentially sustainable (EXS)* future at neighbourhood level.

A Place to Start and a Place to Stay

A place to start out in life and a place to stay is seen to be characteristic of great neighbourhoods according to Bruce Katz, one of our favourite commentators on urban life. We aim to provide a wide choice in housing that invites this journey through life. These include everything from micro rented apartments, to co-housing and co-living options and family houses.

2.3 tons of C02

To stay within the Paris goal of 1.5 degrees of warming, each person can be responsible for up to 2.3 tons of CO2 emissions - called ‘global fair shares’. This cannot be achieved by infrastructure alone; through the regeneration of places and communities we enable good behavioural choices to become cultural and sustained; all who live in our neighbourhoods can become everyday heroes - a new world of abundance and ease is possible.

Radical Affordability

We’re exploring new ways of building, new designs, forms and financing strategies as well as new models of tenure and stewardship, to house everyone well while reducing the cost of living. Our new services in shared living, mobility and energy combine to create radical affordability.


Walkable neighbourhoods, beautiful streets which enable safe and appealing journeys by foot and bike are the keys to an exponentially sustainable movement system. But when we need to go further, we provide co-mobility (CoMo) services from EV-cargo bikes (for shopping and deliveries) to car share, hire and clubs and shuttle buses.

Regenerative Economy

Our places generate and support the new more productive, inclusive, creative and circular economy. We provide networks and learning, beautiful working and meeting environments and back-up services in energy, resource-management, mobility and communications infrastructure

Shared Living

We act to build social bridges and bonds, reduce isolation and loneliness by embracing mixed-income, mixed-tenure places and convivial, healthy communities. In addition to shared energy grids and high-quality public realm we provide storage, laundries, co-working, playrooms and shared courtyard gardens throughout our places.

Natural Building

The construction industry’s use of standard, energy-intensive materials is not only damaging to the climate but creates sterile places - the growth of ‘nowhere’ over ‘somewhere’. We’re pioneering the use of natural building materials from host bioregions and using our ‘Build & Design’ and ‘Raw & Craft’ methodologies to deliver affordable, high-quality, sustainable buildings.

Abundant Green

We turn up the dial on super-greening denser urban environments, bringing them to life with roof gardens, pocket parks, sustainable urban drainage, community gardening and plentiful street trees. The resulting productive landscape is great for the vivacity, texture and colour of urban life, increasing biodiversity and supporting climate change adaptation.

Deep Collaboration

One vision, many hands. Great places are the product of myriad disciplines and decisions deliberated upon with citizen groups and other stakeholders, using precedent, principle and evidence. We have adopted the process of ‘deep collaboration’, a phrase coined by Steve Jobs to describe how his teams connect intensely and creatively across disciplines to create some of the world’s best products.

Future Customers

We build meaningful relationships with customers - offering choice, involving them in design, providing fully customisable fit-outs, turning them into ambassadors for our product and brand. We’re growing a database of people who want to live in human-centred sustainable places, enjoying an excellent everyday quality of life, while taking action to safeguard the planet for future generations.

The Village

To innovate at speed and create transformational change requires the best collaboration the world has yet seen. Human Nature is growing a global network of leaders engaged in the pursuit of a new ‘social imagination’ - a celebration of the myriad actions that can be taken to accelerate exponential sustainability while improving quality of life for all. As part of our role in creating remarkable places we are cultivating relatable human stories that fuel this new social imagination.

Remarkable Place

We ‘weave’ places using multiple tools, processes and typologies across design, engineering and other disciplines. Our objective is always to capture and enhance the genius loci (spirit of a place) and achieve system-scale transformation in quality, well-being, inclusivity and impact. In this way, place becomes remarkable.

*The term ‘Exponential Sustainability’ was coined by John Elkington as a call for ‘breakthrough business models’ that accelerate change 10x across social, environmental and economic goals. Human Nature is committed to this, making places to create transformational change. We call it EXS.


Place Typologies: working at different scales and geographies.


Human Nature and its partners are crafting, designing, prototyping, building and learning from work on urban blocks, mixed-use buildings, homes, street types, landscape treatments, energy and mobility systems.

Through this we develop IP in designing, building and weaving together for places, enabling replicability and rapid scaling and deployment.

New Settlements
New Settlements

Planned new communities of more than 3,000 homes. Primarily system-built in natural materials to our core housing typologies, with one-off designs added to deepen character and diversity.

Our offer in these places emphasises radical affordability, sustainable movement (bike culture and CoMo) and productive landscapes with an emphasis on local food production. Organic evolution of place through the weaving together of ‘villages’ which, at critical mass, give rise to district and town centres, creating a thriving local economy, supported by outstanding whole-life educational provision and other amenity.

5 year goal: 15,000 homes in the development pipeline.

New Life Neighbourhoods
New Life Neighbourhoods

Derelict brownfield sites, run-down neighbourhoods or urban extensions, given a new identity through excellent urban design, architecture, street hierarchy and public spaces that are combined into richly textured and expressive higher-density walkable neighbourhoods.

These places typically contain a wide range of homes, repurposed buildings, and complete range of services, including localised renewable energy grids, CoMo services, as well as distinctive independent retail and café offers. Shared living and shared space is a key focus in these neighbourhoods.

5 year goal: 4,000 homes in the development pipeline.

Urban Blocks & Refurbishments
Urban Blocks & Refurbishments

Block-scale, high-quality, mixed-use, intrinsically sustainable typologies for better forms of shared and affordable living. We look to repurpose existing structures, replenishing them with new design, creating spaces and new activity that make carbon regenerative living possible and enjoyable. Human Nature-style living at a smaller scale; these typologies can either stand-alone or be integrated into developments being promoted by others.

5 year goal: 1,000 homes in the development pipeline.

Housing Clusters
Housing Clusters

Existing places – whether villages, towns or cities – often need new homes to house local families and/or, because of their inherent appeal, to accommodate growth.

Human Nature designs and builds long-life homes in natural materials, with character, to different typologies and in ways that capture the spirit of their host community. These are stitched into the existing fabric, but may include off-grid elements for energy, water and mobility.

5 year goal: 2,000 homes in the development pipeline.

Human Nature Circle of Impact

A proprietary system designed to deliver an exponentially sustainable future at neighbourhood level.


Energy & Infrastructure

Join the mission

We're building a business with IP and breakthrough models that can scale rapidly from place to planet.

Who we are

Our leadership team

Jonathan Smales

Jonathan Smales

Founder & CEO

Katy Whelan

Katy Whelan

Investment Director & CFO

David Cowans

David Cowans


Joanna Yarrow

Joanna Yarrow

Chief Impact Officer

Michael Manolson

Michael Manolson

Founder & Co-Chairman

James Simmons

James Simmons

Chief Operating Officer


Our extended team

Press & Media

Coverage of our work