The Future of Housing in London

Lecture date: 2017-02-02

Jamie Ratcliff, Alison Brooks, Poppy Terry, Joanna Chambers and John Bushell. Chaired by Hugo Hinsley

“Working with government, I have secured £3.15bn to start building at least 90,000 new affordable homes. We will help Londoners who would otherwise struggle to rent or buy, by building a range of new affordable homes. This will include homes for low-cost rent, London Living Rent, and shared ownership” – Sadiq Khan, Homes for Londoners: Affordable Homes Programme 2016-21, November 2016

London’s housing stock has increasingly failed to provide housing for lower income working people, or even for middle income young professionals. This process began during the 1980s, when the Thatcher government, excited by neoliberal economic theory and tempted to attract many voters, introduced the “Right to Buy” scheme to force local governments to sell their Council Housing stock to the tenants at greatly subsidised prices, which thereby prevented them from building new stock. This began the change we are experiencing, moving from a more balanced availability of housing in the sectors of public rental, private rental, and the mortgaged owner-occupier. Is London destined to be ‘hollowed out’ as some critics assert, with only housing for the rich, and ‘buy-to-leave’ investment storage in empty properties? What policies, financial models, and production methods can challenge this? How vital to the future economy and social cohesion of London is a major rethinking of the ways that we produce and manage new housing?

This will be an evening debate with a range of architects and policy makers discussing how we can start to change the current dysfunctional model of housing production for the better.

Jamie Ratcliff is Assistant Director of Housing at the Greater London Authority. He has over ten years’ housing experience at a senior level, having worked at the Homes and Communities Agency, in Local Government and for a large UK bank. He has worked to increase housing supply, particularly of affordable housing, to improve standards in the private rented sector and tackle rough sleeping.

Alison Brooks, principal and creative director of Alison Brooks Architects London, established her office in 1996. Her belief in the transformative social role of architecture underlies a commitment to housing and urban design. Her groundbreaking live-work residential development Newhall Be was shortlisted for the 2013 Stirling Prize and Supreme Winner of the Housing Design Awards. In 2012 Alison Brooks and her team were awarded Architect of the Year and Housing Architect of the Year. She was awarded 2013 Woman Architect of the Year by the Architect’s Journal in recognition of her work in housing, regeneration and education. Alison was a member of government advisory panel the Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment, is a CABE/Design Council National Design Review Chair and Trustee of Open-City. She taught at the Architectural Association as Diploma Unit Master from 2008-2010, and is currently an External Examiner at both the AA and the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

John Bushell is a Principal at Kohn Pedersen Fox with over 27 years of experience. As an integral part of KPF’s global practice since joining the London office in 1994, he has achieved wide acclaim and won numerous awards for his innovative and distinctive designs across a broad range of project types including commercial, institutional, residential, mixed use and cultural buildings in the UK, continental Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

Poppy Terry currently works at housing and homelessness charity Shelter, in the Public Affairs team. She led on Shelter’s political engagement during the London Mayoral election in 2016 and is currently working on issues relating to the private rented sector and the Homelessness Reduction Bill. Before Shelter, Poppy worked at PR and Public Affairs agency, PLMR, where she worked for clients in a range of sectors, from education to health and social care.

Joanna Chambers is the Director of Changing Cities with over 30 years’ experience of working in planning and development in the public and private sectors. She has been responsible for a range of planning, masterplanning, urban design and regeneration work in the UK and overseas, focusing on the preparation of masterplans, development feasibility studies, regeneration strategies, project management and public consultation and participation. She is the Honorary Vice President of the AA Council and a Trustee of the Covent Garden Area Trust.


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