Climate-KIC Supported Urban Challenge 17: London’s Housing Crisis

WAN 17

May 23rd – London

The ‘Urban Challenge 2017’ is an initiative from World Architecture News (WAN) to tackle London’s housing crisis, specifically the need to provide up to 50.000 affordable homes per year across the capital. Climate-KIC were lead sponsors for the event held at Haymarket’s offices in London. The event was opened by the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, James Murray who outlined the challenge:

To create a framework that will deliver the required volume of quality affordable housing and communities within a meaningful time frame to enable the continued growth of London as a world city.

A task force of 25 experts, including four winners from the recent WAN housing design competition, were invited to draw upon their experience to work through the challenges faced by London and develop a strategy to be presented to the Mayor and 200 invited guests at City Hall on 12 September 2017.

Discussions took place in four workshop groups: Governance, Finance and Economics, Innovation and Social. Climate-KIC were strongly represented within the group with Brian Kilkelly, Dr Alina Congreve and Nick Hayes participating in the sessions, specifically in the social, governance and innovation groups.

Each group followed a structure where key issues and challenges were first identified, then a long-list of potential solutions were formulated. Ultimately, debates led the groups to arrive at a shortlist of solutions. The need to address climate change was cited as a keen challenge within the groups and the engagement of Climate-KIC was welcomed on this basis.

Within the Innovation group, it was clear that the issues and opportunities were highly diverse. They included challenges such as how roof space can be used for development, how to transform existing building stock and bringing property owned on a ’buy to leave’ basis back into use. Solutions discussed included technical, financial and legislative innovations.

Several of the groups highlighted the key role of public land in supporting the development of innovative housing solutions and using the extra leverage of land ownership in securing higher quality and better environmentally performing new homes. Transport for London and Network Rail own enough land between them to build between 150.000-200.000 new homes. Several successful international models were also considered. Of particular interest was the Australian NABERS scheme which measures the energy actually used in buildings and can impact developers with financial penalties if the building performed worse than predicted.  

In summary, the workshop provided an opportunity to work with leaders and experts seeking to drive solutions for London’s housing challenge and revealed practical ways to imbed climate innovation in the transformation of a global city. Climate-KIC will be a key partner in terms of delivering final solutions to the Mayor and his team and delivering real impact to enable the growth of London as a leading world city.

See WAN’s article about the workshop, including pictures here. 


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