|

People power in the delivery of better housing

Paul Karakusevic is the founder of Karakusevic Carson Architects, one of the Mayor’s Design Advocate and part of this year’s LFA Curation Panel. In this piece Paul shares his thoughts on Power.

 

The LFA2020 theme of power is fantastically provocative and for me it raises issues about citizenship, the rights to the city and for whom London works.

 

London’s name alone is powerful. Tell people you live in London when you are overseas and faces light up. The name alone conjures up a heady mix of scale, attitude, ideas and design possibilities. It is incredibly potent.

Yet for millions of people who live here – those living in poverty or in poor housing, those who cannot afford a home or watching from the side-lines as their communities transform – they can feel completely powerless. For these citizens, London’s potency lies in its ability to defeat and consume them, rather than as an enabler of a happy and fulfilled life.

 

Londoners of all kinds need confidence that the city is working for them and that their voices are being heard on the issues that in the 21st century will make or break the capital; truly affordable housing, stable employment, public space and the environment.

The new generation of council-led housing are powerful symbols that voices are at last being heard and London is entering a new era where quality, space, materiality, durability, light and joy in the design of new homes matters. To make this shift permanent, housing needs to be regarded as vital city infrastructure and local government, forward-thinking housing associations and community housing groups have a fundamental role in making this change.

 

The most exciting periods in London’s history have always been those of flux, when dominant power structures have been challenged and new ones emerge. In the 1880s, Londoner’s campaigned hard for their own government in the form of the LCC, wresting control from remote central government and taking forward the change they needed for themselves. In the 1970s mass protests threw out urban motorways and neighbourhood demolition. In a similar way, estate ballots are now seeking to tip the scales back towards community leadership and create a mechanism for resident participation, accountability and ultimately improved housing. We are now witnessing resident groups becoming advocates for design quality and this pressure translates to better design, detailed specifications and new housing created with greater pride and oversight of workmanship and craft.

 

For LFA2020 I am looking forward to seeing proposals and ideas that explore the potency and application of grass roots people power and how we may yet mobilise this force to create more quality housing and a more equitable London in the 21st century.

More Blog Posts.


High Density, Low Rise, Zero Carbon

High Density, Low Rise, Zero Carbon

  There are many well-used references for advocating low rise density over height in a masterplan: that housing densities in low-rise Notting Hill are higher than many tower blocks; or that Barcelona and Paris are denser than New York. Many…

READ MORE
EcoWorld London on how to create a healthy community

EcoWorld London on how to create a healthy community

Image: Aberfeldy Street, Courtesy of EcoWorld London When creating a new community, you cannot just care about the next generation. You have to care about every generation of users and occupiers: doing justice to the people who have lived there…

READ MORE
Unlocking Spaces for Everyone

Unlocking Spaces for Everyone

Image: Elements of Bioclimatic Design © AKT II   Bioclimatic design serves the intersection between ‘biology’ and climate’, and is essentially about designing buildings and landscapes with a response to the local climate so that people have a better experience.…

READ MORE
A Poem on Care by Anna Sullivan

A Poem on Care by Anna Sullivan

I care about what I do. I care about the way I do it. I care about the people I work with. I care about the people affected by what I do. I care about what the resident will feel…

READ MORE
Care in workplace design: Thoughts on moving from activity-based working to collaboration-based learning

Care in workplace design: Thoughts on moving from activity-based working to collaboration-based learning

Image copyright: Woods Bagot   Even after a year of working from home, we know that physical offices are crucial to initiate, embed and reinforce the culture of an organisation and the experience of work for individuals. The war for…

READ MORE
Commuting and my carbon footprint

Commuting and my carbon footprint

For over 20 years I have been a committed commuter, travelling daily between South West London and Central London covering the daily return of 42 miles by bicycle or train. I was staggered recently to calculate that this amounts to…

READ MORE