The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has welcomed the Deputy Prime Minister's speech to the National Home-Building Council in which he calls for 'Places which draw on the best of British architecture and design' and says the only way out of the housing crises is to think big, bold and beyond bricks and mortar.
Commenting on the announcement, RIBA Chief Executive Harry Rich said:
'I am pleased to see the Deputy Prime Minister reflect so many of the issues that have been raised by the RIBA’s Future Homes Commission in their recent report. This is a step in the right direction to get the country building decent, affordable, sustainable homes where people want to live and where communities can prosper.
Thousands of new communities urgently need to be built and their quality will be imperative to their future success, and the economic success of the country.'
The Future Homes Commission's groundbreaking report 'Building the Homes and Communities Britain Need', published last month, called on those involved in the British house building industry to deliver:
a three-fold increase in the number of new homes being built every year (from the current 100,000 to over 300,000) on brownfield land and land close to virtually every city, and provide
a greater focus on design in all new homes, ensuring they meet current residents' needs, making them fit for future generations, and thus attractive to UK and international institutional investors so that Local Authority pension funds can recycle their investment once a community has been established; and
a more consumer-oriented housing market, with reliable, comprehensive information available to people when making the most important financial decisions of their lives.
The RIBA welcomes the Deputy Prime Minister's acknowledgement that the UK has the smallest new homes in Western Europe, (as highlighted by the RIBA last year in the report 'The Case for Space') the challenge now is to provide the promised 'Garden Cities and Suburbs for the 21st Century’ that deliver light and spacious, flexible homes with ample private and open spaces – all factors that our consumer research has revealed people desire in their homes and help to create sustainable liveable communities.
The RIBA also notes the government's intervention to get locally led stalled large scale housing projects moving, but restates the findings of the Future Homes Commission that new homes must be well designed places. In order to achieve a decent return for tax-payers the government must ensure that the homes they are investing in are sustainable places where people want to live and where communities can grow and prosper.