We caught the end of an excellent exhibition at the RIBA institute on Designing the House for Tomorrow. They asked different architects to look at traditional housing models and reconsider how these ideas could work today. It was an informative study of how housing has been envisioned in the past and how we can look forward. What is very apparent is how unaffordable most housing is for people beginning to look at their adult lives alongside the destruction of long term, stable council housing.
We have just spent a few weeks in New York where property prices are huge however there still remains individual shops and cafes unlike every time we visit London where I am staggered by the number of huge empty glass boxes being built for overseas investors- in turn encouraging a faceless homogenization far greater than other cities I’ve visited. When I lived in London as a child I would spend weekends with my nan in her council flat off the Kings Road in Chelsea where she had resided as a long term resident. It is sad to imagine this becoming rarer as the cities workers are forced further out of towns. It is difficult to see a way back now as our government has embraced this cold commodity of spectral inhabitants in million pound apartments and neglected the people who need to work in the city to keep it running efficiently. My nan cleaned rich peoples houses in Chelsea but it seems incredibly shortsighted to forget that they will still need these people to empty their bins and change their beds.