Sadiq Khan launches initiative to improve London’s housing design

The Mayor of London has committed to the Good Growth by Design programme, rallying the likes of David Adjaye and Wayne Hemingway to help make London’s buildings more “affordable”, “inclusive” and “environmentally-sustainable”.

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, courtesy of Flickr user Dionisos Olympian.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has launched a new design initiative involving architect Sir David Adjaye and designer Wayne Hemingway, which looks to make housing more affordable across the capital.

The Good Growth by Design programme was launched at an event at the London School of Economics (LSE) this week, and has rallied 50 architects, designers and built environment experts to make London’s buildings more inclusive and environmentally-sustainable.

“Rigorous” design reviews of buildings

Khan has invited 50 design advocates to work with City Hall and local councils on the programme.

The initiative will look to set new design standards of buildings and undertake “rigorous” design reviews of existing buildings, alongside increasing the number of open competitions to achieve “high standards” for public design projects.

Increase diversity in architecture and design

It will also look to increase diversity and tackle under-representation in the design, architecture and built environment industries through an initiative called Public Practice. Of Khan’s 50 design advocates, 50% are women and 25% are from black, asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME).

Public Practice will also place designers and building planners in different local authorities to help “plug the skills gap” across London boroughs.

Initiative follows Grenfell Tower tragedy

The building design initiative follows the Grenfell Tower tragedy last month, which saw a huge fire engulf a 24-storey block of flats in North Kensington, resulting in the presumed death of 80 people. The fire followed a recent renovation on the tower block, which involved cladding and insulation added to the building that have since failed fire safety tests.

Alongside improving standards of existing buildings, Khan says the initiative will help to cater for London’s “unprecedented population growth”, with the capital expected to need space for 46,000 new jobs and 50,000 new homes yearly, according to the Mayor of London Office.

Move towards “genuinely affordable” homes

He adds that the new initiative aims to move the focus of building “away from high-price homes” and “towards more genuinely affordable homes for all Londoners”.

He says: “We must embrace London’s rapid growth with both hands and take this chance to use good architecture and planning to make a real difference to the lives of Londoners. This is a chance to learn from past mistakes, some of which are still dotted across our city, and blight the lives of the communities that live in them.”

“Good growth can lead to a host of other benefits such as better social integration among different communities, and new transport links transforming areas and local economies,” he adds. “This programme will make the most of London’s growth so that every community is able to share in the fruits of development.”

To read the initiative in full and see the list of the 50 design advocates, head to the Mayor of London’s site.

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  • neil whitehead July 13, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Please, please, please stop using the meaningless phrase “affordable housing” – if you have 1 million pounds in the bank, a house that costs 3 million pounds would not be affordable or, if you have only £20,000, a house that costs £50,000 would not be affordable!! Builders don’t build unaffordable homes – if they did, they would soon go out of business. The higher the price the higher the profit.

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