Jonathan Smales

Jonathan Smales

Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Human Nature

In this fascinating and visionary interview, Jonathan:

  • gives insight into his background and how the shift in attitude towards the environment in the 1980s influenced his goals.

  • describes some of the built environment projects he and other members of the Human Nature team have been involved in, both with and before Human Nature.

  • relates the process of co-production and collaboration in Human Nature to Alan’s description of Steve Jobs' approach to innovation.

  • talks through how the Phoenix project in Lewes, East Sussex, UK started; its scale, the development and planning process, how they plan to make the project carbon negative, and the solutions and the resources that will be available on the estate to create a sustainable neighbourhood and a ‘living landscape’.

  • outlines the financial side of the project, revealing some of the challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them through different streams of funding and investment.

  • discusses aligned values and how, in the case of the Phoenix, this also includes residents, business owners, and investors.

  • shares his opinion on what factors currently prevent equitable projects that create a vibrant community.

  • reveals his background of business training as a civil servant and working for Greenpeace, recalling mistakes he made along his career and the lessons he learnt working with a friend.

  • expounds on some of his learnings from both Greenpeace and Human Nature, including mentality, values, and the power of doing good and surrounding yourself with good people.

Jonathan SmalesCo-founder and Executive Chairman of Human Nature
00:00 / 01:04
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Jonathan Smales
Jonathan Smales
Jonathan Smales

0:00 - Alan introduces the show by talking briefly about his history in business. He continues by describing the format and purpose of the show.

1:13- Alan invites listeners to get in touch with questions and comments, and gives contact details.

1:33 – Alan welcomes Jonathan Smales to the show and invites him to introduce his company, Human Nature, which aims to make practical positive changes.

5:53 – Jonathan gives a little more insight into his background and how the shift in attitude towards the environment in the 1980s influenced his goals.

7:39 – Jonathan describes some of the built environment projects he himself, and other members of Human Nature team, has been involved in, both with Human Nature, and before Human Nature.

10:50 – Jonathan discusses how Human Nature projects generate innovation.

13:54 – Jonathan relates the process of coproduction and collaboration in Human Nature to Alan’s account of Steve Jobs' approach to innovation.

15:34 – Jonathan recalls how Phoenix Project started.

18:00 – Jonathan explains the process of developing the project.

19:59 – Jonathan gives insight into the planning process, including some of the challenges.

21:44 – Jonathan outlines the timeline for Phoenix project.

23:28 – Jonathan details the scale of Phoenix Project.  He goes on to explain how they plan to make the project carbon negative.

28:38 – Jonathan reveals the resources that will be available on the estate to create a sustainable neighbourhood, and how they aim to create a “living landscape”.

31:42 – Jonathan approximates the size of the population. He goes on to clarify how Human Nature is making the neighbourhood economic and accessible.

33:06 – Jonathan fills Alan in on some of the facilities that will be available to create a “walkable neighbourhood”.

38:19 – Jonathan outlines the financial side of the project. He reveals some of the challenges they have faced financially and how they have overcome these challenges through different streams of funding and investment.

44:00 – Alan and Jonathan discuss aligned value, and how in the case of Phoenix Project, this also includes residents, business owners, and investors.

45:38 – Jonathan shares his opinion on what factors currently prevent equitable projects that create a vibrant community.

46:30 – Jonathan reveals his background of business training as a civil servant and working for Greenpeace. He recalls mistakes he made along his career and the lessons he learnt working with a friend.

51:50 – Jonathan shares some of his learnings from both Greenpeace and Human Nature, including mentality, values, and the power of doing good and surrounding yourself with good people.

56:30 – Alan thanks Jonathan for coming on the show. He asks Jonathan to share the URL and contact details for Human Nature.

57:33 – Alan wraps up the show by reminding listeners where to get in touch.