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Old June 14th, 2011, 06:32 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sesquip View Post
"High Rise" is not required. Decent density and mix can be done in 4-6 stories while maintaining an urban street pattern and public realm.
Likewise no need to paint high-rise as the demon that caused all social and urban problems.

Seeing as a lot of the housing pressure is coming from working single people and couples who do not demand gardens and have more disposable income to pay on shared maintenance then it is a practical solution in many ways. Just a shame there are not enough of them and they usually get chopped in half thus destroying the key aesthetic advantage of a tall building.
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Old June 14th, 2011, 07:18 PM   #82
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Well that is nor quite fair either. If all you paid was just the maintenance cost of the property you are effectively asking to live in the property for free. You assume the land has no value and that the Landlords capital used to buy the property is free. Even if they have paid off the mortgage that is still the landlords money he could have invested eleswhere.

It's the excessive land prices that have driven up prices of rent, greater supply would reduce prices. Though a big city London is never going to be as cheap as smaller cities.
I think thats wrong. You buy a property (be it a home or property to rent) and you make a more than a healthy profit from the property value appreciating. That is the investment. I bought my last place for £72 and sold for £300k - all in 15 years. The land is included with the property of course - or vice versa.

If you achieve rent from a property then thats income (and is it not counted as such when you apply for a second mortgage?) You say one can go and invest somewhere else but what other investment will give such a high rate of return as bricks and mortar?
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Old June 14th, 2011, 07:19 PM   #83
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I see absolutely no justification for allowing people with incomes in excess of £50,000pa to live in council housing. Any accomodation offered in council housing should be on a temperory basis only, subject to review every 24 months.
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Old June 14th, 2011, 09:31 PM   #84
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I think thats wrong. You buy a property (be it a home or property to rent) and you make a more than a healthy profit from the property value appreciating. That is the investment. I bought my last place for £72 and sold for £300k - all in 15 years. The land is included with the property of course - or vice versa.

If you achieve rent from a property then thats income (and is it not counted as such when you apply for a second mortgage?) You say one can go and invest somewhere else but what other investment will give such a high rate of return as bricks and mortar?
All that shows is that you bought at the right time. Someone who bought three years ago is not laughing all the way to the bank now.

Property is not always a one way bet, it's certainly tax efficient but it is extremely illiquid. Stocks and Shares have traditionally been a better bet (assuming sufficient spread of investment). For example it took forty years for property prices to recover to the same levels from before the great crash(taking inflation into account). Despite the recession property prices are still high in the UK. What did you think all the monetary expansion was for but to pump inflation into the economy to prevent asset prices collapsing.

The cost of capital is not free if you want to treat it as such then almost anything else would be a better investment. What you need to look at is the yield you will get from the capital employed (annual return as a percentage of asset value). The higher the yield the better the profit margin. But on the other hand you have to look at voids between lettings. High demand areas will always let quickly, so a lower yield is justified as you have greater security.

The property ladder is great if you start at the time of low prices (usually just after a recession). If you do things correctly you can move and improve your way to a much better house in a couple of decades. But their are plenty of people who build a crappy extension or hideous kitchen and spend thousands while not increasing value. They fool themselves they have had a good return on investment because the price of houses has increased.

Getting on to income, running a property is not free and the income is subject to tax and they better have tax audited accounts if they want to use it for income purposes. There are thousands of buy to let people out there who getting rents less than their mortgages at the moment.

Property is an asset that requires management, either you pay some one to chase the rent, fix the boiler deal noise complaints etc etc, or you do it yourself. The quick bucks in property are recognising when a property is cheap and that the required repairs aren't that bad and then quickly selling on. Being a Landlord is about gaining a steady income with a safe asset. If your rent is to high you will suffer longer periods of no lets.

To lower rents and sale prices you either need less demand or greater supply.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 01:33 PM   #85
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Likewise no need to paint high-rise as the demon that caused all social and urban problems.

Seeing as a lot of the housing pressure is coming from working single people and couples who do not demand gardens and have more disposable income to pay on shared maintenance then it is a practical solution in many ways. Just a shame there are not enough of them and they usually get chopped in half thus destroying the key aesthetic advantage of a tall building.
Absolutely. The fact that a load of terrible residential tall buildings were built in the 60s and 70s doesn't mean that we shouldn't be building good ones now. But most large residential developments in London at the moment seem to stick to mid-rise (around 5-12 stories) - less controversial with the planners and public, and can achieve high density. Sensible enough, but a few more well-designed tall buildings would add some interest.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 02:16 PM   #86
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I think what we may see, especially now with rents so high is institutions and developers building large developments and towers purely for the rental market.

The HCA is planning to do this with the long stalled 360 tower in E&C. It seems obvious really and is a logical next step up for developers who are doing similar with student towers.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 02:24 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by Rational Plan View Post
All that shows is that you bought at the right time. Someone who bought three years ago is not laughing all the way to the bank now.

Property is not always a one way bet, it's certainly tax efficient but it is extremely illiquid. Stocks and Shares have traditionally been a better bet (assuming sufficient spread of investment). For example it took forty years for property prices to recover to the same levels from before the great crash(taking inflation into account). Despite the recession property prices are still high in the UK. What did you think all the monetary expansion was for but to pump inflation into the economy to prevent asset prices collapsing.

The cost of capital is not free if you want to treat it as such then almost anything else would be a better investment. What you need to look at is the yield you will get from the capital employed (annual return as a percentage of asset value). The higher the yield the better the profit margin. But on the other hand you have to look at voids between lettings. High demand areas will always let quickly, so a lower yield is justified as you have greater security.

The property ladder is great if you start at the time of low prices (usually just after a recession). If you do things correctly you can move and improve your way to a much better house in a couple of decades. But their are plenty of people who build a crappy extension or hideous kitchen and spend thousands while not increasing value. They fool themselves they have had a good return on investment because the price of houses has increased.

Getting on to income, running a property is not free and the income is subject to tax and they better have tax audited accounts if they want to use it for income purposes. There are thousands of buy to let people out there who getting rents less than their mortgages at the moment.

Property is an asset that requires management, either you pay some one to chase the rent, fix the boiler deal noise complaints etc etc, or you do it yourself. The quick bucks in property are recognising when a property is cheap and that the required repairs aren't that bad and then quickly selling on. Being a Landlord is about gaining a steady income with a safe asset. If your rent is to high you will suffer longer periods of no lets.

To lower rents and sale prices you either need less demand or greater supply.
I guess I would have been laughing all the way to the bank if I didnt sell my flat and buy a house instead. That was always the intention and its exactly what I did. More so seeing as I have a child.

Its interesting to me that you assert " For example it took forty years for property prices to recover to the same levels from before the great crash(taking inflation into account)" If this is the case (and I trust that you are correct), then surely if that crash had not happened, property prices in the UK would have been beyond the reach of just about everyone a very very long time ago?: 1930 to 1970 to recovery. 1970 to 2010 growth. Where would 80 years of growth left us today? Anyway I take your point.

I considered renting my property when I was living with my wife and the typical management cost is about 15% on the rent. In my case I just didn't want to leave my place empty. Clearly its in the management agencies interest to keep your flat let and keep the owner happy.

Back to my original point, It think its tragic that rents in this country are so high and its all for profit. Its not the same in other countries and I dont know why it has to be so here. Yes, stocks and shares are the places to make money if you feel inclined. IT leaves a bad taste in my mouth that a basic think like housing is denied to people because for profit margins....sorry not written very well I got to go pick up the boy from nursery lol
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Old June 21st, 2011, 12:03 PM   #88
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Here's an interesting decision:

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Originally Posted by Rational Plan View Post
http://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/socia...020172.article

Southwark council has agreed to scrap plans to make parts of [...] Neo Bankside [...] available for affordable housing.

[The] Developer [...] agreed to make 34 of the apartments available for shared ownership when planning permission was granted in 2007.

But [now] the council has allowed the developer to instead pay £9 million towards 44 social housing units in the borough.

The council accepted that even to buy a 25% share of a flat, residents would need to earn at least £55,000 a year. This falls outside the borough’s target income group of up to £35,000 a year for shared ownership homes.[...]
This clearly makes sense in a high-end scheme like this. And the result is that ten more "affordable homes" are being built. The downside of course is that housing types will be a bit less integrated - but as long as planners ensure that not all the top-end homes are in one place and not all the social housing in another, then surely it's better to get more homes built overall.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 03:37 PM   #89
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Back to back to the future

-- Link to London Evening Standard article --

Council housing, you might think, is common enough in London. We see early 20th-century pockets of it in inner London and the expansive post-war, modernist estates of outer boroughs.

But in reality, new accommodation for social rent has not been built for a generation. There is a chronic under-supply (more than 350,000 households are on the waiting list, according to the Mayor), and under investment in the homes still owned by local authorities.

Boris Johnson announced last week that the total public money invested in the capital's social and affordable housing over the next four years will be £1.7 billion, and he is expecting £2.5  billion to come from the private sector to beef up that sum. Labour critics say this is a cut of 87 per cent from the last agreement, and it is clear that the new settlement will mean considerable borrowing by housing associations.

So Anne Mews in Barking town centre, a £4.5 million development of 31 houses, is a real collector's item, the first council housing for 25 years in this borough. The houses are owned and rented out by the local authority to local families who moved in in May this year. It is very good architecture of a plain, ego-free kind that could be a prototype for local authorities London-wide.

Just a few years ago, Barking was a model of how the types of housing built in outer London boroughs in the Sixties had failed. The town centre had a scruffy yet vibrant high street and market but all around were the decaying relics of the old way of making cities. Perhaps the most notorious of these was the Lintons (located near the centre of Barking between the railway tracks and high street), a housing estate consisting of looming, 16-storey blocks that dominated the view of the town from the Northern Relief Road. These slabs were flattened in 2008, and few tears were shed. The Lintons was the classic case of a modernist estate that arrived with great optimism and promises of a better life. My father, who was brought up in Barking in the Sixties, remembers that his schoolfriends from the Lintons had the air of people living in the future. It didn't take long, though, for underinvestment and poor quality construction to turn this utopia into a nightmare.

So what has Barking built on the site of this aberration? Coronation Street, you might well answer, looking at the photographs of it here.

It's an intimate terraced street of modest, brick houses, each with a small garden. There are two types of house, by two different architects, of two and three storeys respectively. There aren't many cars, and children play happily outside. I'm guessing that most readers wouldn't object to having this built in their neighbourhood. It simply feels like a bit more of London, and indeed it is inspired by other London streets, in particular the cosy scale of Roupell Street near Waterloo, where two-storey valley-roofed workers' houses mix comfortably with slightly grander three-storey homes.

There are years of architectural experience and observation behind Anne Mews, in the shape of two of Britain's best architectural firms. Maccreanor Lavington Architects, which jointly won the Stirling Prize in 2008 for the Accordia housing development in Cambridge (I was on the jury that year, and it got my vote), designed the three-storey, four-bedroom houses. Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, the architect of Westminster Academy (also Stirling-shortlisted in 2008) and much more, designed the two-storey, three-bed houses with the pitched roofs. AHMM was also the designer behind Barking Central, the dense, brash development of apartments that has transformed the centre of Barking around the town hall. These two practices have put in years of groundwork on the byzantine government regulations that govern the design of housing. While no one would argue with the need to make sustainable homes that are accessible for people of all ages and physical abilities, the ham-fisted interpretation of some of this well-meaning legislation results in the lobotomised housing design that blights all London boroughs.

So what is the difference in Barking? First, the architects decided to focus what budget they had in the simple use of high-quality materials. The houses have rich, almost rusticated London stock-coloured brick façades, with that rich mottle that is familiar to us from Bloomsbury, Islington or any other Georgian neighbourhood. Other moves are simple and economical, while still adding the coherent atmosphere. Both types of house use the same windows, and differ in their proportions and the treatment of front doors. The smaller houses have more colourful surrounds to the doorways. I have been writing about British housing for well over a decade and I know how difficult it is to make something that looks so simple; building a street of terraced houses might seem the bleedin' obvious thing to do in London but hardly anyone has cracked it. Anne Mews is just the first phase of the William Street Quarter masterplan, which will provide a total of 470 houses and flats, with another pair of terraces like these, combined with what the architects describe as "mansion block" style buildings of six storeys, an 11-storey apartment tower at the corner closest to the station, plus play areas for children.

Inside, the houses are well configured but not over-generous. They were designed before the Mayor's Housing Design Guide was published last year, so they do not conform to those space standards. The four-bedroom house, with its convivial, open-plan ground floor oriented around the kitchen (which overlooks the street where the children play), should work well, even if a first-floor living room might feel odd to some. The two-storey units cannot avoid the disruptive influence of having a ground floor wheelchair-accessible bathroom in the middle of the plan but the lounges opening on to the gardens are simple and decent.

This successful project seems urgently relevant to London today. The dearth of affordable family homes in the city has become a big political issue, particularly in places such as Barking, and there is pressure on politicians to provide more.

You only need look at the revisions to the Olympic legacy masterplan, which will include 400 units of two- and three-storey housing to temper the huge number of apartments that the athletes' village will turn into. Maccreanor Lavington is working on that project too, which bodes well. Many other local authorities will be making the trip to Barking to see how affordable family housing can be created in a simple, modern way. With funding cuts, the only way to achieve this quality with any consistency may be if boroughs pool resources to achieve economies of scale, or if the Mayor takes a lead.

Finally, Anne Mews is a retort to the old saw that the quality of the Stirling-winning Accordia housing project (designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Maccreanor Lavington and Alison Brooks Architects) can only be achieved for wealthy homebuyers. Anne Mews has the austere simplicity and the material quality of Accordia, and perhaps more elegance for being even simpler in their elevations. Clearly the landscape treatment is less lavish, designed for easy upkeep, but, even so, the proportions of the street, the modest grace of the architecture - it's all there, and for less than £1,000 per square metre.

So, come on local authorities, don't let private developers deliver you jerry-built lumps of render, timber panels and cheap brick for social housing. Get some decent architects on board who understand London housing and do it yourself.

Barking has, and in doing so has set a very respectable standard for family housing in London.
~~

Anne Mews - Barking, London 2011

-- Link to Allford Hall Monaghan Morris --

This project is the first phase of a wider masterplan for the redevelopment of the former Linton’s Estate in Barking Town Centre. The masterplan has been developed in close consultation with the key stakeholders, providing a high quality, catalyst development that will bring more choice in housing, community space and a Business Centre to support start up businesses.















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Old July 24th, 2011, 06:28 PM   #90
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I like the urban street character of the Anne Mews housing, but am not crazy about the brick choice.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 09:15 PM   #91
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Very nice streetscape. Would be nice if it was a bit taller. I'm in favour of stacked housing types - ie separate entrance flats on top of houses (with thick floors between them to block the noise!) to increase density without homogeneous blocks of identical units and tennancies.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 09:37 PM   #92
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Not a fan, looks like low quality 30's or 50's houseing stock. I particularly don't like the flat roof variety, Lived in something like that when I was a kid and the roof would always leak.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 10:19 PM   #93
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Interesting, thanks for posting, Woodgnome. I don't know if I approve of the principle, well-intentioned though it is of course - the council estate model has not proved all that successful over time. This could perhaps have been different if the houses were just a bit better - the recessed doorways are ugly and the rows as a whole are terribly flat - you could solve both problems in one by giving them porches instead of recesses.

These are features which make houses look nicer to normal people (as opposed to architecture critics and SSC forumers, who often have more exotic tastes). And houses that people find attractive command higher prices - the market signal is there in private sales and even in the private rented sector. If social housing is integrated with housing for private sale, as is now generally the pattern, then it gets to benefit from that testing - the developer has the incentive to make the place look pleasing, and at the very least not to make the "affordable" part of it offputting to the private buyers. That incentive just isn't there if you're just building a council estate, and I'm afraid it shows, although I'd rate this example a near miss rather than a hopeless case.

I hope this doesn't point the way with other developments in London - combine a rebirth of dedicated council estates with the emerging trend of developers buying their way out of integrating social housing into luxury developments (Neo Bankside, Chelsea Barracks) and you head back to ghettos and social division and badness.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 10:33 PM   #94
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The new Ferrier / Kidbrooke terraces look much nicer, possibly due to the greater visual variety between housing units.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 11:23 PM   #95
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No! No! No!

Building crappy housing that's 'good enough for poor people' is the mistake we made in the sixties and seventies.

Spend the money in a way which encourages good quality new housing to be built.
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Old August 4th, 2011, 09:52 PM   #96
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I remember reading that article regarding the mews housing development and as I was reading the architect wanking over how good it is, all I could think is that people thought that in the 1960's too. Only a matter of time before the mews suffer the same fate sadly-and they dont even look good to begin with!
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Old August 5th, 2011, 07:20 PM   #97
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Firstly, can I just say that this is one of the most thought-provoking threads I've seen on SSC (and also surprisingly civil, which pleases me).

I may be wrong (and I totally recognise that my "sources" are purely anecdotal based on my acquaintances), but I think the reason older housing stock remains so popular is the quality materials. I've often said it, but I think architects obsess too much about architectural styles. Any style can look good if it uses materials of a sufficient quality. I don't think most people intrinsically prefer an 1880s terrace's architectural style to that of a 1980s flat. It's just that, more often than not, the 1880s terrace was built with better quality materials and detailing. Much of the vitriol for the modern styles of architecture would be easily averted, in my humble opinion, by simply setting minimum standards on materials quality. Developers are really missing a trick here, in my view. Materials are usually the first thing to be compromised, to preserve the design (or somesuch conceit). In my view, if costs need to be tamed, the materials quality should be preserved at all costs.

Another issue regarding attractiveness of modern developments is homogeneity. Admittedly, Victorians were terribly guilty of this (and I really do mean that, most terraces from the 1880s and onwards look much the same), it's particularly noticeable in apartments, where you have a vertical plane of residences as well as a horizontal one. Many developers ARE starting to realise that a place of abode is more attractive if it has some individual factor (only subtle variances are needed), and I hope the trend continues.

Even though I'm normally liberal in all things, I really do think that tighter controls on matters like materials (not architectural styles or alleged "view spoiling") and green spaces would massively improve the demand for modern housing. As an aside, it would also alleviate the crippling demand for older housing stock (just how many ways can you cut up one old 19th century house that it wasn't designed for?), thus bringing down prices there too. Basically it comes down to developers spending a little more money so that everyone can ultimately spend less, so it might take a little government barking to get it done, but I don't think the current issues in housing demand are insurmountable...yet.

(sorry if this post is a little incoherent, a little tipsy atm!)
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Similarly, the Georgians pastiched the Romans and Greeks, with their neo-classicism. Arguably, this copy is nowhere near as good as true Greek/Roman temples. That does not make Nash and Cubitt anything less than masters of their art.
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Old August 6th, 2011, 12:38 PM   #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unionjack72 View Post
I see absolutely no justification for allowing people with incomes in excess of £50,000pa to live in council housing. Any accomodation offered in council housing should be on a temperory basis only, subject to review every 24 months.
Completely agree..... Bob Crow (Rail Union leader) earns £160K p/a and insists that he stays in his £50.00 per month...yes that's right...council home...surely if he is a representative for working people...then he should allow a working class (remunerated) family to take his council house...he can afford to pay for his own place and not expect the tax payer to pay for it. Scargill is still screwing the miners and expecting them to fork out £60K p/a for him to keep an apartment in the Barbican......working class my arse.... egotistical leeches on the real hard working person
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Old August 6th, 2011, 12:51 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Nash View Post
Firstly, can I just say that this is one of the most thought-provoking threads I've seen on SSC (and also surprisingly civil, which pleases me).

I may be wrong (and I totally recognise that my "sources" are purely anecdotal based on my acquaintances), but I think the reason older housing stock remains so popular is the quality materials. I've often said it, but I think architects obsess too much about architectural styles. Any style can look good if it uses materials of a sufficient quality. I don't think most people intrinsically prefer an 1880s terrace's architectural style to that of a 1980s flat. It's just that, more often than not, the 1880s terrace was built with better quality materials and detailing. Much of the vitriol for the modern styles of architecture would be easily averted, in my humble opinion, by simply setting minimum standards on materials quality. Developers are really missing a trick here, in my view. Materials are usually the first thing to be compromised, to preserve the design (or somesuch conceit). In my view, if costs need to be tamed, the materials quality should be preserved at all costs.

Another issue regarding attractiveness of modern developments is homogeneity. Admittedly, Victorians were terribly guilty of this (and I really do mean that, most terraces from the 1880s and onwards look much the same), it's particularly noticeable in apartments, where you have a vertical plane of residences as well as a horizontal one. Many developers ARE starting to realise that a place of abode is more attractive if it has some individual factor (only subtle variances are needed), and I hope the trend continues.

Even though I'm normally liberal in all things, I really do think that tighter controls on matters like materials (not architectural styles or alleged "view spoiling") and green spaces would massively improve the demand for modern housing. As an aside, it would also alleviate the crippling demand for older housing stock (just how many ways can you cut up one old 19th century house that it wasn't designed for?), thus bringing down prices there too. Basically it comes down to developers spending a little more money so that everyone can ultimately spend less, so it might take a little government barking to get it done, but I don't think the current issues in housing demand are insurmountable...yet.

(sorry if this post is a little incoherent, a little tipsy atm!)
I would disagree with you there ...I can see your point....about quality, but the main reason why some people don't like modern housing its because it has no relation to human scale or indeed human emotions, its hard looking, its not amiable, it looks aggressive and cheap at the same time.....Have you seen the programme called the Life of Buildings Monday night.....it categorically shows that people / humans do have (as expected) a reaction to buildings...I love buildings...FULL STOP but only if they are of an emotive and innovative design of its time and make me feel elated.. Most architects todays do not understand that they are in fact a composer of building materials and that their orchestra and anthem is the building.....There are some great designs...but there are many more diabolical ones built by conveyor belt architects and planners.....here's a question...how can one be a town planner, responsible for an areas building environment etc and DO NOT hold a design, architect or environmental qualifications.....I want to be a doctor but I wont study the human body or medicine !!!!!!
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Old August 6th, 2011, 12:55 PM   #100
annamaria4711
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Nurse* View Post
No! No! No!

Building crappy housing that's 'good enough for poor people' is the mistake we made in the sixties and seventies.

Spend the money in a way which encourages good quality new housing to be built.
And they are still repeating it..... I bash my head against the wall on a regular basis...the wall called Tower Hamlets....and I try and get the said planners to think about greenery around the building and the street and to use some of th 106 money to be put back into the street, instead of their pension pot....
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