The UK’s population expected to rise by 10 million in 25 years. This will take it from 64.6 million to 74.3 million in 2039. As Ebenezer Howard asked ‘Where will the people go?’. Birmingham’s population is 1.074m so that’s another 9 Birminghams. Where should their houses be built? I have no idea BUT it is obvious that landscape considerations are key to the discussion (as are the geographical distribution of the housing demand and infrastructure considerations).
So the government should commission a number of landscape architecture practices to consider the new housing problem. The National Character Area profiles are a necessary consideration but they are not sufficient. A UK Scenic Quality Assessment Map is also required – and it does not exist. SQA Maps are necessary because it is easier and better to build on land of low scenic quality than on land of high scenic quality: we should improve what is bad before we destroy what is good. Personally, I think it would be better to build half a dozen Birminghams in South Essex than on the North Downs or in the Lake District. Should the new housing be in London, because that is where demand is highest?