Where should we build 300,000 new homes every year? We could build tall buildings, which can have transformative effects on city centres and their skylines but might not necessarily match delivery with need. Or we could build urban extensions and new settlements, which could be imbued from the outset with the highest possible design and build standards but are very difficult to deliver.
Or we could densify, gently, existing suburbs. We could incentivise LPAs, residents and SME builders to upgrade older, less energy-efficient housing stock, especially in those parts of the cities with the greatest potential to reduce car dependency. This too though is a challenge. Centre for Cities found that over a fifth of neighbourhoods outside city centres have built no new houses since 2011, while half have built, on average, less than one home each year.
Why are our suburbs the way they are? What are the barriers to densification and how might they be overcome?
Sam Stafford poses these questions to guests:
- Samuel Hughes, Research Fellow at the University of Oxford and Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and Create Streets;
- Hana Loftus, Director at HAT Projects and an Associate at Public Practice;
- Ben Woolnough, Planning Manager at East Suffolk Council.