Yesterday we launched the HomeWise campaign and last night we launched the commission. I think this is really important:
Our homes are our most personal interaction with architecture. Our living spaces and immediate environment have a profound effect on our quality of life. There is a pressing need to build more homes throughout the UK but while we think about how we do that, we should also make sure that they are the right types of homes. Our new HomeWise campaign is about making sure the next crop of homes meets the needs of today’s lifestyles nationwide.
We need to start a conversation, to research if we need to change the way we design and build homes and if today’s homes are suitable for the future. This research has not been carried out since Parker Morris standards in the 1960s and today our technology and ways of living have changed. It is inconceivable that the way homes are used has not changed in fifty years!
Consumers need to be better informed – when buying or renting a new home. If you are buying a new car you ask about its performance and the mileage per gallon, so why not have similar information about the running cost and performance of your new home. We want consumers to have more choice and to be aware of the size of a home rather than just the number of bedrooms. Maybe we need to come up with entirely new ways of living together, with our demographics of an older population and young people not having the money to afford to rent let alone buy a home. Maybe its time to see if we need radical change to the standard family home and introduce innovation, so that the homes we build next will truly reflect the way we live and can be more flexible for a more inclusive lifestyle, home-working, elderly and young and community.
This gives us a once in a generation opportunity to seek changes to the way homes are built and to make a real difference to the quality of life for anyone embarking on buying and renting new home. We are not calling for immediate UK-wide statutory standards which might overburden the housing industry. But we do think things that can be hugely improved without government regulation. We need to work together with the public and with the industry to gain a better understanding of what people want and need from their home that reflects the changing ways we live. That’s why we have set up a commission to investigate the issues and launched the HomeWise campaign yesterday.
There are many constraints to delivering the best quality housing currently and this is exactly what we hope the industry will work with us to solve.