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Housing in 2019: Merton to Manchester

Future Cities Forum has discussed solutions to the UK housing crisis across five forums and supporting round tables this year.

Leader of Merton Council and Chair of the South London Partnership (which pulls together the interests of the boroughs of South London), Stephen Alambritis, reflected at our 2019 Predictions Forum this month, on the benefits of offsite construction, and put forward the vision for working with developers from the private sector, Clarion Housing Group and with Transport for London.

Stephen commented that his borough was the first to use the 'Y:Cube' approach - designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour - putting modular construction to work in partnership with YMCA London South West to provide low cost homes quickly for people who had been homeless or on the council waiting list. The thirty six Y: Cube units were delivered at a cost of £45,000 each, in about half the time usually required for a traditional building. Watch him speaking in the video above.

Specialist low energy, passivhaus architect and Founder of Prewett Bizley, Robert Prewett, who also spoke at our predictions event, commented that "there is a strong link between offsite construction and improved energy performance standards for buildings' but he felt that modular was a not a blanket answer to the UK's housing problems, although it had worked well for student accommodation.

"Many urban spaces in older cities require a much more nuanced approach than that which modular can offer, and there is now a middle-ground evolving which uses offsite construction but has a more flexible and imaginative approach to designing for very different sites', he stated. See Robert speaking in the video above.

Homes England at our November forum talked about the interest in the use of offsite and modular construction and its value in the building of regeneration schemes. Head of National Land Sales, Phil Collings then went onto describe the approach to the mixed-use regeneration of a struggling area of East Manchester, Ancoats, which centred on the re-purposing of a cluster of magnificent mill buildings into a district which now ranks - according to the San Francisco Chronicle - as one of the "coolest places to live on the planet". See Phil speaking below.

Future Cities Forum will return to this important discussion area in 2019 at the six larger events and smaller round tables that are planned across the year.

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