Following their selection of 100 ideas to help solve London's housing crisis last month, New London Architecture (NLA) and the Mayor of London have narrowed down the entrants to ten winners which they believe offer exemplary models for the UK capital. The selected designs range from radical architectural solutions, such as Floating Homes and Baca Architects' proposal to create 7,500 new homes in a matter of mere months by floating small abodes in London's canals, to radical economic solutions such as David Kroll's recommendation to separate the value of properties from the value of the land they occupy.
In addition to being displayed alongside the 90 other proposals in an exhibition put on by NLA, these ten projects will be presented to the Greater London Authority to be assessed for their feasibility as real-world solutions to the crisis. Together, these ten designs provide insights into potential solutions - but also the many different causes - of London's housing crisis. Read on for images and descriptions of all ten designs.
The Urban Darning Project
Patrick J.A. Massey, CZWG
Invoking the many small gaps that are a natural result of London's centuries of organic development, Patrick J.A. Massey proposes a widespread and concerted effort to identify and "patch up" the holes in the city's urban fabric. In the proposal, each local authority would commission a task force of planners and architects to seek out these gaps and offer outline proposals for the desired development, essentially providing each site with a pre-approved planning application to speed up the development process.
Housing Over Public Assets
Bill Price, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff
According to Bill Price, the space above London's public buildings such as schools, hospitals and libraries could support an additional 630,000 homes. In his scenario, existing public buildings would be refurbished or entirely rebuilt by private companies, who would be rewarded with ownership of the dwellings above, to sell or to rent.
HTA Design LLP
HTA's "Supurbia" aims to release the potential of the suburbs with two complementary approaches: firstly by investing in local amenities and high streets to make the suburbs a more desirable living location, and secondly by enabling suburban homeowners to build more homes in their gardens, increasing density, unlocking the equity inherent in homeowners' land, and reducing the city's reliance on bulk housing developers to alleviate the crisis.
Natasha Reid Design
"Intimate infrastructures" highlights the "missing typology" in London housing, that of purpose-built shared housing. The design proposes a modular, standardized form of shared housing that focuses on mixed tenures, placemaking and providing homes to existing residents, rather than the current housing options that have resulted in widespread gentrification of London.
Floating Homes Ltd with Baca Architects
With 50 miles of rivers and canals, and 150 hectares of docks, marinas and basins, London has a significant area of water that is largely going unused. With canal boats already a viable living option for the more adventurous of London's potential homeowners, "Bouyant Starts" hopes to unlock these "bluefield sites" more formally, arguing that the city has space for around 7,500 prefabricated, floating homes which could be constructed in just 6-12 months.
Investing in London’s Future by Learning from its Past
This system is based on a well-known historical system previously used in London: the leasehold system. Under the current system, it is the land itself that is most dramatically increasing in value, with private developers profiting off of these ballooning values. In Kroll's system, buildings are separated as a commodity from the land they occupy; the buildings themselves would be developed by private parties while the land would be publicly owned and leased to homeowners for a stable and fair price.
Mega Planning, Beyond 2050 – MegaPlan for a MegaCity
GL Hearn part of Capita Ltd
With London set to be Europe's first MegaCity by 2050, this plan argues that the only way to tackle its problems are with "MegaPlanning." The scheme looks at the "Edge Land" of London's greenbelt, between the M25 ringroad and London itself, arguing that unlocking just 4% of this protected land for development would provide enough space for new development.
ATAL Opportunity Areas
THE ATAL TEAM
This proposal takes as it's starting point the Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL), a measure applied to different areas of London which determines the area's maximum allowed density based on it's accessibility to public transport. However the ATAL proposal turns this relationship on its head asking why transport options can't be a result of the required density of the area, and creating instead the "Active Transport Accessibility Level" (based on cycling and walking). the proposal suggests that an investment in relatively cheap infrastructure could therefore be used to double development density over almost half of London.
Making More With Less: Unlocking Leftover Land for Generation Rent
Pitman Tozer, LB Enfield and Naked House
In partnership with Naked House, a not-for-profit housing developer that focuses on development of small, under-used areas of council owned land, this proposal argues that a large number of small developments could significantly ease London's housing crisis, creating 110,000 affordable homes by 2025. The proposal combines elements similar to both "The Urban Darning Project" and "Investing in London’s Future by Learning from its Past" above, focusing on unlocking small under-used spaces and developing on publicly-owned land, with the developer paying a ground-rent linked to the value of the land.
dRMM's proposal takes a tried-and-tested model for developing office spaces and applies it to housing: by using a basic "shell and core" strategy of construction, without internal partitions and fitout, construction costs and time can be significantly reduced. The proposal therefore capitalizes on the increasing popularity of self-build housing, with homeowners able to customize the building interior however they wish.