Homes not Housing
Whether it’s a house or a flat, a castle or a cottage, where we call home matters. Our health and well-being, our educational attainment, and many of our life choices depend on where we live. For some, home is a springboard to success but for others it means taking what you get in a world where the orthodoxy of ownership is out of reach. As a result, housing is one of our biggest challenges and the overwhelming reliance on the market as the go-to provider is looking increasingly in need of a reboot. For these reasons, A&DS has made support for the delivery of more and better homes one its top priorities.
Over 75% of Scots currently rent or buy in the private sector and within this, the proportion who own their own homes has been falling steadily from its peak in 2000. As rents and prices continue to rocket, this means more of us face the prospect of higher costs and reducing access to decent housing. What’s to be done?
What A&DS can do
Well one thing we can do is create more and better homes which meet people’s needs. This means creating places rather than simply building houses. It means thinking about how new housing will be used now and in the future to access services and employment, to support active living and improve well-being. In this way we can learn from the past and ensure quick solutions to today’s problems don’t become the cause of tomorrow’s.
Happily there are already many examples to follow. Better still, these will deliver quick solutions that offer long term benefits in the form of attractive, sustainable places which support the lives of those who live there.
Grodians on the outskirts of Lerwick is one such place. A social housing development containing a mix of 1, 3 and 4 bedroom homes, its vibrant colour scheme helps to create a warm and uplifting appearance. Extensive planting and landscaping adds to this and provides shelter during the harsh Shetland winter. It’s success shows how good design can be affordable and create a high quality, distinctive place.
The former athletes’ village in Glasgow’s Dalmarnock shows what can be done when everyone works together. Despite innumerable challenges, the public and private sectors delivered a place which has already demonstrated its flexibility and with excellent transport links, access to green space and high quality design – and not forgetting being a showcase for off-site construction – it provides a glimpse of different.
From regeneration sites like Granton in Edinburgh or Springburn in Glasgow to the creation of housing within local town centres across the country, places are changing and we have the chance to make that change one that will last. However, there is still too much new housing that is not good enough and we are clear that more effort is needed if we are to give people the places they deserve.
Our challenge to you
The best of these share a few key factors that make successful, places. They are well designed, well connected and more than simply housing developments. They are the result of collaboration between the public and private sector. Most importantly, they are places created for people.
Are we prepared to make the changes required to make these places the norm? We all say we do, but the question now is whether we will make it happen.