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 05-07 March 2019 / ExCeL, London

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28 Feb 2019

The Housing Challenge: Housing wake up

Jane Brigshaw, Director, Design England

Housebuilders posting record profits, Brexit looming, Government Garden Villages looking like government car parks. What is the perspective for housing? What is the perspective for the planet?

Still in the shadow of the Grenfell catastrophe, Futurebuild’s session last year saw local authority leaders facing the housing challenge by setting up housing companies, struggling for staff ‘capacity’ and fighting for more access to borrowing.

One year on, have things got better or worse?

Cambridge University geographer and Mistress of Girton College, Susan Smith casts a new spell, suggesting that far from being lost, in a million small grassroots interventions, we are finding an entirely new way.

Having helped to build that new way at LILAC, the successful people-powered housing project in Leeds, scholar activist and writer Paul Chatterton suggests what ‘climate emergency’ placemaking might look like. By making a concerted effort to harness local knowledge for housing he will be making the case for vigorous involvement from all sections of society.

Croydon Smaller Sites Programme won Best Architectural Design at the Inside Housing Development Awards. Croydon Council’s Heather Cheesborough will show that by thinking creatively about the design approach to a single programme it is possible to create imaginative and viable schemes.

Ambitious housing strategy already under his belt and Manchester set to be ‘net-zero’ carbon by 2028, on the way to becoming a carbon-neutral city region by 2038, Manchester City’s new director of housing, Jon Sawyer’s collaborative drive for high quality design promises a new direction.

These accounts may point to a more positive future than we were anticipating. Maybe the spirit that we saw in the referendum, with a brutal sense of the local, is the same one now creating a positive legacy? A legacy based on how we use home-grown public space and public action as the generator of a whole new grassroots approach to housing

Is housing just about to get WOKE?

Land valuation, home ownership, family living: such historic and cultural practices are being thrown into question by the housing crisis and will be explored in the ecobuild conference on 06 March 2019 at 3pm. Join us as we tackle the Housing Challenge.

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