Edge at Futurebuild #4 - The Housing Challenge – More than houses – 15.00, 6th March 2019

Thursday, February 21st, 2019 | Debates

futurebuild_logoLand valuation, home ownership, family living: such historic and cultural practices are being thrown into question by the housing crisis.

Why have we still got a ‘housing crisis’ in the 21st century? ‘Solving’ this complex issue calls for more than a succession of government targets for numbers of new homes to be built each year; the industry also needs to raise its ambition and innovate. So how can we really ensure that we build the right homes in the right places at the right price for the right people? The government has scrapped the cap on how much councils can borrow to build new homes, which is welcome. James Brokenshire, as Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), has expressed the government’s commitment to “building the right number of homes in the right places” and is appointing a ‘New Homes Ombudsman’, although this appears to encourage and support home ownership.

But many questions remain to be answered:
- Should anyone be ‘homeless’ in the 21st century? This may be an extreme expression of inequality, but we cannot escape the overall inequality of our social structure.
- Does our cultural attitude to home ownership suggest that renting your home is a sign of failure and so put pressure on the ‘need to buy’, despite unrealistically high prices?
- How are we addressing changing demographics with more single person households, and catering for groups such as elderly people, who may have varying needs for homes and place?
- What are our new housing models in today’s housing landscape of private developers, local authorities and housing associations?
- How can land be valued for the benefit of the wider community (including the provision of high quality social facilities) instead of being a lottery based on hope value and scarcity?
- How do we ensure that ‘affordable housing’ is affordable when the cost of housing seems to have become detached from earnings?
- How can we raise our ambition and ensure that all our citizens have safe and affordable housing in line with SDG 11, with access to sustainable transport and employment?
- Should we also improve protection for tenants, as is available in many European countries?
- How can we ensure quality both of building and place, not just quantity of dwellings?
- Do we need a comprehensive national and regional spatial plan?
- Is it time to rethink ‘housing’?

This session will explore the issues and we will invite the audience to contribute their own suggestions. By the session end we will identify three key recommendations as the most universally applicable.

This session was developed with the Ecobuild Conference at Futurebuild

Jane Briginshaw, Director, Design England

Paul Chatterton - University of Leeds & author of Unlocking Sustainable Cities A Manifesto for Real Change
Heather Cheesbrough - Croydon Council
Jon Sawyer - Manchester City Council
Susan J Smith - University of Cambridge

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