The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) welcomed the boost that the UK Government's housing strategy, launched today, will give to the construction of badly needed new homes, and also the invitation to collaborate on a Ministerial-led design summit. The RIBA supports the aims of Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England to get the housing market moving again with measures to increase the number of people taking up mortgages on new-build properties; freeing up additional public sector land; and finance for stalled schemes.
A central plank of the strategy is a focus on the quality of new-build homes and an acknowledgement that design, sustainability and quality are as important as quantity to deliver homes for communities. "We have been pressing hard for more homes to be built in the UK and for these to be of high design quality," said RIBA Chief Executive Harry Rich. "I am delighted that the government has listened and has given such prominence to design quality and the role of architects in driving good design within their communities and in delivering housing fit for the 21st century."
In helping the delivery of more homes through public money, lessons from Kickstart must be used to ensure that the right types of homes and of the right quality are provided to last for future generations. Recent RIBA research has shown that many newly completed homes are failing to meet people's needs - research that is used by the Government in its assessment of the current state of UK housing.
Community involvement is identified in the strategy as crucial to delivering new homes. Architects have the skill and expertise to provide support to communities and the RIBA welcomes the strategy's commitment for the RIBA, together with other partners, to work with Government to look at how to provide that support.
Local involvement is one of the ways to improve design quality and this should not happen in isolation. The RIBA will work with local authorities and housebuilders to explore ways of improving the design and quality of new homes.