I’ve just heard Danny Alexander saying that the biggest problem for his constituents is the cost of housing.  He then said that there was a need for more (referring to the number) affordable housing.  Presumably he implied that more houses need to be built.

It seems to me that there are three problems.

The first is that there are far too many people on this overcrowded island.  [This would be a footnote or an endnote:  There was an interesting More or Less on the ludicrously erroneous immigration predictions; we have had loads more European immigrants than expected – partially because Germany wouldn’t let them in!  (We can’t blame the EU for this one.)]  What to do about this is a thorny issue.

But the second is that houses, rented or bought/ sold, are too expensive.  For too long they have been a source of investment-for-profit rather than a place to live.  I have no idea what can be done about this, but Something Needs To Be Done.  It probably requires a whole rethink of capitalism, and so will be incredibly difficult and painful.  Heigh-ho.

The third problem is that we apparently need more space – because we have tremendous expectations about privacy and personal space and because we have so much stuff.  Again, I have no idea what can be done about this.

The one thing that must not be done is more and more houses to be built.  It’s absolutely unsustainable and will only encourage more houses to be built ad infinitum.



Filed under Streams of Consciousness

2 responses to “Housing

  1. anna

    This country also has a lot of badly planned, badly designed, uninsulated, inefficient housing, and a fair bit that isn’t fit for habitation (thanks in large part to criminally irresponsible landlords). Replacing some of that would go a long way toward addressing at least no.3 – some housing associations are working on this, e.g. Tardis Terraces and Sheffield’s Ecoterrace. In with good storage and out with vast sofas! Oh and sewage systems that predate indoor bathrooms… Given the recent floods, I’m quite drawn to a Bolwoning – could be Kreijkamp had the right idea back in the ’80s.

  2. I’ve just looked at the Bolwoning site. Fantastic – I love a round house. But it’s a bit too plastic. However. I agree about landlords, and also our sewage systems – we really ought to stop just tacking more houses onto Victorian systems! The Concrete House in Dulwich has finally been compulsorily purchased by the council and is being done up. I might blog about that. Mmm.

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