Thursday, 21 November 2019

In which some architects discover some reasons people object to housing development

 At a time of housing crisis, at least in some parts of the UK, it is amazing that groups of planners and architects can still find time to argue against building houses, or in this case building them too fast:

Eurocell says although homes are being built quickly in response to the housing crisis, there is 'almost no consideration' for the infrastructure needed to support them.
 The basis for this claim is a survey: found two thirds of people felt there was too much focus on construction of 'homes rather than communities', and seven in 10 thought there was not enough provision of educational, health and sports facilities
 Colour me surprised. People always argue against new housing on the basis of pressure on or lack of social infrastructure: "the school's full", "there's no playground in the park", "you can't get a doctors appointment". The system we have largely mitigates these effects - in the past through s106 payments and now via Community Infrastructure Levy. Moreover, the impact on existing social infrastructure is almost always over stated even with very large developments.

The right response to the argument here isn't to slow down development but rather to direct land release and development towards existing communities with established social and transport infrastructure. Indeed, increasing housing numbers in smaller communities could make the differences between these places losing or keeping their post office, chemist, pub or local shop. The dominant obsession with 'new towns' and 'garden villages' should be challenged for the obvious reason that it is easier, cheaper and more efficient to develop existing infrastructure than it is to build new infrastructure. This is the core benefit of suburbia - it is iterative allowing for communities to absorb development rather than trying to create community spirit in an entirely new place.


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