On 23.5.17 World Architecture News assembled a Housing Task Force at Berners Street in London to confront the complex issue that is London’s housing crisis. High demand and limited supply, particularly of affordable homes, has led to a situation where very few first time buyers can afford a home and many young people are being forced to look elsewhere.
Sponsored by Climate-KIC, Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate change, the event was attended by professionals from across the architectural and housing spectrum with representatives from Clarion Housing Group, Gensler, Waugh Thistleton and Buro Happold amongst many others.
Introducing the day, Peter Murray, chairman, at New London Architecture said: “It’s a big ask to solve London’s Housing Crisis in one day. This event is highly significant as World Architecture News links us to a global network of building, engineering and construction professionals.”
James Murray, London Deputy Mayor for Housing and Development outlined the scale of the challenge facing the Task Force saying: “I’ll be looking for the answer to London’s Housing crisis to land in my inbox this evening. People in City Hall don’t have all the answers to the problem. We must all work together towards a solution; architects, engineers, construction professionals and developers. We must engage with everyone who plays a role to solve London’s housing crisis.
“High end property has kept London’s housing market buoyant, the question now is how do we shift to a more sustainable model? Fifty thousand new homes are required in the capital, this will need a level of residential construction not seen for years, with high density developments playing a pivotal role. It’s clear that Londoners themselves must also be a part of the solution to the housing crisis.”
James Murray went on to present awards to four firms who had won the WAN Urban Challenge Ideas Competition to design high density housing solutions for London.
During the day itself the attendees formed four teams focusing on the key areas that could bring about change; Finance, Governance, Social and Innovation/Technology.
Some lively debate followed with four short lists of solutions for each of the key areas being presented to the group at the day’s close.
Peter Murray concluded by saying: "A manifesto of policies is now being drafted in advance of the new London Plan. A key proposal includes the rewriting of the London Housing Design Guide to include a focus on design quality and higher density in order to accommodate the capital's growth."
The Task Force's proposals will now be carried forward to WAN’s Housing Symposium on 12th September at The Building Centre at the NLA in London. Presentations will be made detailing the findings followed by what promises to be a lively panel discussion and Q&A.