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Why Don't We Build Enough New Homes in England?

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Building homes is one of the oldest and simplest human endeavours. However, over the last few decades in England we have comprehensively failed to build enough new homes for our growing, changing and ageing population. The impacts of this failure have been clear for all to see: unaffordable rents, a 1.8 million social housing waiting list, dangerously high house prices, and a quarter of 18–35 year olds now living with their parents. With such pressing social problems, why have successive governments failed to get a grip? Here we give Shelter's explanation of why we have not built enough homes and set out the foundations of a new approach to building the homes we need. Developed in partnership with industry experts from KPMG, Shelter's analysis goes beyond the usual debates about the planning system to unpick the fundamental causes of the housing supply problem. In particular, the crucial role of the land market and the sclerotic and concentrated house building industry which has grown around it. Our alternative approach draws on the best examples from Northern Europe, where quality private and public development happens on a scale and at a speed that is rarely seen in the UK.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2015

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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