This aim of this research project is to better understand attitudes to and preferences for the visual appearance of housing in England.
There are 22,000,000 households in England, growing by over 1.2 million (around 6%) a decade. That's 120,000 new homes every year, but that still only meets half of the demand. Because of this shortfall the housing debate has been focused on meeting demand rather than on the actual design of the houses.
The numbers in housing are big, but there needs to be more to the debate than the numbers of homes alone. What is the demand for design?
It's not just numbers.
63% of current homes in England were built after 1945 and only 20% were built before 1919
80% of households live in houses
(29% terraced, 28% semi-detached and 22% detached)
62% of homes are suburban
65% of homes are owner-occupied
60% of homes have 3 or more bedrooms, rising to 74% for owner occupiers
41% of households are families, compared with 28% one-person households and 28% couples
The English House
The UK ‘Housing Crisis’ has been subject to fierce debate and analysis across the industry, housing charities and mainstream press for over a decade. The fact that there is a chronic shortage of supply is in no doubt, with the Home Builders Federation reporting on the tenth anniversary of the publication of the Barker review of housing, in March 2014, that in England an average of 115,000 homes a year had been built over the preceeding decade, leaving a shortfall of one million from that recommended by Barker for adequate supply and economic welfare (HBF, 2014).
Space standards and the size of our homes in England has also come in for criticism - shown to be the smallest in Western Europe. The quality of new homes has featured in the background of the numbers dominated debate, raised as a concern by industry bodies and touched on in Barker’s review recommendations for improvement by way of reported customer satisfaction.
The three-bedroom, suburban, post-war, owner-occupied family house is the most prevalent dwelling type in England. Here's the breakdown, based on stats from The English National House Survey 2012-13 (DCLG 2014):
But what of the architecture and moreover, the appearance of the new houses themselves? Both the debate and research of the appearance of the million plus homes that have been built over the last decade are sorely lacking. Campaigning bodies such as RIBA and CABE focus on improving quality and space standards without reference to what the homes look like.
This research study is focused on reflections on the visual appearance of current housing in England, supported by surveys of attitudes (of the public, of architects and of the house-building industry) to the appearance of housing.
Please take part, it's your feedback that makes it possible.