Whose responsibility should it be to deliver and manage new homes?
Statistics from the last 200 years tell us that it cannot be left to the private sector alone to meet housing demand. The recent predominance of a short-term investment model meeting narrow strands of need, within narrow site boundaries, has resulted in extreme market failure. Four streams of housing delivery – brownfield, green belt, small sites and estate regeneration – each need their own very visible public sector leader with a clear remit to make that land fruitful by whatever means. Public landowners must surge back into play: first to improve transport infrastructure, then to assemble, remediate and masterplan big brownfield and town edge sites where public land is dominant. Delivery can then be parceled out to multiple actors, each with their own unique capabilities, including self-builders – a key sector currently locked out of the UK scene. Local authorities should themselves be the builders and keepers of
rented homes at all prices – there to serve many household needs in perpetuity, on public land, never to be sold. Self-management of flatted housing and open spaces by residents is a UK rarity, but is a very powerful way of creating and knitting communities. Flat living, an inescapable destiny for many, must be brought out from the cold and its cohort given far more agency to shape their world.
Metropolitan Workshop is working with Claire on a new ‘sub-urban’ housing model for Nationwide Building Society. Claire was Development Director at Peabody from 2010 to 2015
Claire Bennie, Project Director