Where should Britain’s new housing be built? London?

Where should new houses be built for the UK's 10m population growth? Ask a landscape architect.
Where should new houses be built for the UK’s 10m population growth? Ask a landscape architect.

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. Plus people are often already looking on sites such as getagent.co.uk for property within those regions. Additionally, if we centralize everything then how will people who live outside of London have a chance to get a new home? It seems better to spread out the newbuilds. 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? I suppose it doesn’t really matter what I think though. The government will come to the best decision for housing. Hopefully, they will be able to help more people find a home. Of course, some people in the UK have already found their forever home and have been able to purchase it with the help of right to buy mortgages. This helped a lot of people to own their homes. Hopefully, they will do something similar to make sure all of these new people have somewhere to live and call their own.

Tom Turner

1 Comment on “Where should Britain’s new housing be built? London?

  1. Tot up a list of loss of population in Britain’s declining cities from their peaks in the 1930s or 1950 to the 2000s and you can make up the different of this sort of forecast. For instance,
    Belfast down from 444,000 to 295,000
    Liverpool down from 857,000 to 439,00
    Manchester down from 766,000 to 393,000
    Glasgow down from 1,088,000 to 579,000
    Leeds down from 511,000 to 424,000
    (source: http://www.demographia.com/db-intlcitylossr.htm)
    Remember that elements of the infrastructure from their peaks still exist (e.g. the reserved track track central reservations in Leeds, and Liverpool to the Board Schools).
    Then remember that London is a low density city, with potential for six million homes in the outer London Boroughs if developed to the same density as the inner London former LCC boroughs.
    Then remember the loss of rural population in the nineteenth to twentieth century. Then recall the 3,000 deserted medieval villages.
    And population growth (which would be due to immigration) is quite possible to accommodate.