New London Architecture Unveils 10 Winning Ideas to Solve the London Housing Crisis

New London Architecture Unveils 10 Winning Ideas to Solve the London Housing Crisis

New London Architecture has unveiled 10 ideas that have been selected from an international ideas competition to help solve the London housing shortage. From living in shared homes to living on the water, building on top of public buildings and creating a megacity in the suburbs, the 10 ideas provide a radical rethinking of current housing delivery models.

"We asked for innovative and ambitious ideas, and we were certainly not disappointed," commented Richard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property. "The range and sheer number of well-considered and imaginative entries was truly impressive. Some ideas were eye-catchingly radical - such as a floating neighbourhood transforming sites on the Thames. Others were simple yet brilliant - such as redefining the index of public transport accessibility (PTAL).
Without a doubt, the entries showcase some exciting ways to challenge the traditional approach to house building and we look forward to pursuing the ideas set out by winning entries in discussions here at City Hall."

The ideas will be presented to the Greater London Authority who will study their feasibility as options for the future of the London housing market. 100 of the entries to the competition will be on display in the New Ideas for Housing exhibition at the NLA Gallery.

Winning Ideas

The Urban Darning Project

by Patrick J.A. Massey CZWG
Employing the sewing technique for repairing holes or worn areas in fabric, The Urban Darning Project aims to encourage small residential developments in central London to 'fill-in the gaps' of the urban fabric. Each London borough commissions a team of planners and architects to work collaboratively to produce a strategic report, which not only identifies desirable sites for development, but crucially produces a set of schematic annotated drawings for each site showing the nature and scale of development desired by the local authority. The report will focus on extension, infill and end condition sites which have the potential to be developed into additional residential units. Attaching a set of approved schematic drawings to a site will significantly reduce the risk of not obtaining planning permission, as the site has already effectively had an outline planning analysis, and will therefore act as a catalyst for development.

Housing over public assets

by Bill Price, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff
There is room for 630,000 new homes in London by building apartments above public buildings, such as hospitals, schools and libraries. This would comfortably meet the projected 488,000 homes that will be needed in the capital in the next decade whilst simultaneously improving public facilities. To achieve this, the private sector would refurbish or fully rebuild a hospital, library or school - paid for by adding several floors of apartments above the new facility that could be rented or sold. The idea has examples, existing expertise and public support from Londoners keen to remain in the city.


by HTA Design
Supurbia is a strategy for intensifying London's suburbs that balances their inherent advantages with higher density and amenity value. Its approach is twofold: redeveloping the local main streets and parades as mixed-use places with increased housing and amenity provision; and allowing owner-occupiers of semi-detached homes to develop their land, creating rich diversities of housing. The strategy will bring together local authorities and communities to plan appropriate developments, and allow homeowners to release equity in their land for home improvements. It will also reduce reliance on mainstream developers to ease the housing crisis, providing an approach that is more adaptable to communities' needs. Assuming a mere doubling of density per plot, this realises 16,800 new homes per year, or 40 per cent of London's projected housing need for the next 20 years.

Intimate Infrastructures

by Natasha Reid Design
In response to the drastic urban changes occurring in east London, an alternative to more dominant forms of volume housebuilding is proposed, which provides solutions for both private renters in the form of purpose built shared homes, as well as considering the needs of local communities vulnerable to displacement. The project addresses a 'missing typology' of purpose-built shared housing to meet the demand of private renters in the immediate term, while also accommodating larger family homes within a framework that focuses on qualities of place and mixing tenures. New mass-produced, modular 'shared houses' are proposed as standardised components, to speed up delivery, reduce construction costs and regulate minimum levels of space standards. Based on the London pattern of streets and squares, permanent infrastructure would be provided at ground level in the form of a courtyard and terraces townhouses, to embed more permanent groups into the city fabric.

Buoyant Starts

by Floating Homes Ltd with Baca Architects
Our idea addresses the housing crisis in Greater London by providing high quality prefabricated floating homes, at an affordable price, for the unused water space of the capital. There are approximately 50 linear miles of rivers and canals forming the waterways network of the Greater London area, and an additional 150 hectares of developable waterspace in the city's docks, marinas, and basins that we call 'bluespace' or 'bluefield' sites. Currently underused, this bluespace has the potential to deliver as many as 7,500 prefabricated floating starter homes with minimal disruption to existing communities. 'Generation Rent' becomes 'Generation Float'.

Investing in London's Future by Learning from its Past

by David Kroll
The basic principles of this idea draw on a well-known system of housing development from London's past - the leasehold system. Separating the cost of housing as a physical product from land costs would make it more affordable to build and buy houses. Suitable public land could be released to build housing, but it would not be sold off to private developers. Instead, it would remain in public ownership. What is being privately contracted out is only the planning and construction of the buildings. The leasehold to the houses or flats can then be sold for the amount that it actually costs to develop and build them, which is affordable to most Londoners. Those who purchase the dwellings would then pay an additional, stable 'ground rent' for the land. The level of such a rent can be set strategically and with social sustainability in mind. The ground rent could be smaller, for example, for young families who are first-time buyers.

Mega Planning, Beyond 2050 - MegaPlan for a MegaCity

by GL Hearn part of Capita Ltd
By 2050, London's population growth will make it western Europe's first MegaCity, and mega planning is required to implement a radical step change in housing delivery. Assuming densification alone will not solve London's long-term requirement for new homes, our MegaPlan looks beyond this and seeks to maximise potential land supply across 'Edge Land' - the inner belt running from the inner London Green Belt to the M25. Green Belt land within the M25 (including London) totals 86,000 hectares. Over three quarters of Edge Land is therefore designated as Green Belt, and almost one third of this land is covered by primary environmental, landscape or heritage designations. In order to meet the shortfall in housing, less than four per cent of Edge Land would need to be released from the Green Belt. This approach would be underpinned by a strategic Green Belt review, to positively plan for a sustainable pattern of growth.

ATAL Opportunity Areas

ATAL 'Active Transport Accessibility Level' is our concept for unlocking housing density in parts of London with poor public transport provision. The London Plan limits housing density across London based on the area's Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL). This makes sense from a public transport led sustainability perspective, but it leaves large swathes of London where higher densities cannot be realised, thereby supressing the provision of new homes. By shifting the focus from 'transport accessibility' to 'active transport', we can improve accessibility from these parts of London to enable a higher yet moderate housing density to unlock new supply. Achieving a high ATAL will allow for a doubling of development density in over half of London, subject to the provision of high quality walking and cycling infrastructure. Housebuilders will be encouraged to bring forward development through the GLA designating 'ATAL Opportunity Areas', with planning incentives stimulating the development of these areas.

Making more with less: unlocking leftover land for generation rent

by Pitman Tozer, LB Enfield and Naked House
Naked House is a new generation not-for-profit housing provider that unlocks the vast array of small, under-used council-owned sites throughout London to build genuinely affordable homes for those on intermediate incomes. Individually, these sites may be insignificant, but taken together, they can help solve London's intermediate housing shortage. Naked House acts as developer, taking on the developer risk and managing the process throughout, allowing us to jump many of the barriers to such schemes and provide a scalable model. The council propose to realise long-term value through a ground rent linked to the value of the land (and so any uplift in value is shared), the guaranteed provision of permanently affordable intermediate housing (a resale covenant locks in affordability for perpetuity), additional council tax receipts, etc. Naked House will unlock the potential of small infill sites across London, to provide as many as 110,000 fully-affordable customisable homes by 2025.

Wood Blocks

by dRMM Architects
A new shell and core housing typology should be used to build homes, adapting a tried and tested development model from office buildings. It 'scales up' the growing appetite for self-build as a more affordable typology and as way of creating the home Londoners really want. Shell and core provides 'ready to camp in' housing: a structural, weatherproof, thermally- and acoustically-insulated shell which you can then partition and fit-out however you want. Excluding internal fit-outs could reduce the cost (to the developer/house-builder) of building new homes by 40 per cent, and the duration of construction by 25 per cent - delivering faster, cheaper housing.

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