A study was carried out of perceptions of different types of house amongst people with and without experience of damage to their homes caused by large scale flooding. The study looked at how experience of environmental events can change people’s perceptions of the value of different housing environments.The study relates to two issues at the forefront of debate on the interface between built and natural environments in the UK at the moment. One is meeting the large projected demand for more and more new housing. The other is combating – or more often living with and ameliorating the effects of – climate change.A large part of the housing debate centres around where we should build our new houses. Whilst there is a drive to utilize brownfield sites there is also an acceptance of the need to develop on some greenfield sites. Typically, many such developments in the recent past have taken place on river floodplains and other low-lying areas of relatively low agricultural value and subject, of course, to periodic flooding. The engineering approach – supported by both the demands of insurers and the attitudes of house buyers - has been a ‘fortress’ one aiming, often unsuccessfully, to exclude the possibility of flooding. Often the subsequent loss of natural flood plains has led to accentuated flooding problems downstream.In northern UK in particular a significant focus of the climate change debate has been on extreme weather events – particularly the predicted increase in winter flooding and other storm related events. This debate and a series of highly publicized major flooding events in recent years has concentrated attention on the advisability of building new housing in areas subject to potential flooding.Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, design initiatives have sought to challenge the idea that the only acceptable solution in flood risk areas is the exclusion of water by hard engineering. The more radical of these have proposed the idea of living more closely with water, often in houses designed to float, either permanently or during flooding episodes.This paper reports on a study carried out in December 2005 amongst householders in Carlisle, a city on the north of England which, in August 2004, had been the scene of a major, high profile flooding event which caused loss of life as well as widespread damage to property.A study was carried out of 21 householders with personal experience of flooding and 26 without such experience. Respondents’ views were sought on the desirability of a number of different types of design for floating houses set in an aquatic environment, as well as some more conventional houses. The results of this pilot study demonstrate the effect of environmental experience on the perception and value of different living environments.