The JRF have a new paper that I thought would be of interest. It looks at how residents in high density housing view where they live. I’ve yet to have a chance to read the report beyond the main findings, which seem to throw up some sharp challenges for anyone thinking or developing these sorts of schemes.
Here are the main findings:
- Residents often reported that they did not feel that they lived at ‘high densities’, even though this was the case. They appreciated the innovative architecture and design that offered a sense of space and light within the homes.
- Low cost home ownership (LCHO) respondents sometimes struggled to pay the cumulative costs of mortgage, rent and service charges. Some social rented tenants also found it hard to make ends meet.
- Both owner occupiers and LCHO respondents felt that the scheme was made a less desirable place to live because of the presence of social rented tenants. Conversely, social rented tenants and LCHO respondents felt stigmatised within schemes where their homes were physically separate from ‘market price’ owner occupied housing.
- The schemes had introduced greater socio-economic diversity into the areas where they were situated, but they were not always well integrated within those areas. Residents often reported feeling ‘separate’ from their neighbourhood. And although they felt safe in their developments, they often felt threatened by the surrounding neighbourhood.
- Many of the residents felt housing management and maintenance were unsatisfactory and expensive.
- Most residents either intended or wanted to move. This was usually because of the area in which the scheme was situated, rather than the scheme itself.
- The research suggests that the Government objective of delivering more affordable homes in mixed communities will only succeed if close attention is paid to their management, how ‘affordable’ they are for LCHO residents, and the placement of the affordable properties within the scheme. The development also has to fit correctly within the surrounding neighbourhood and community.