Today, in Episode 12, we say goodbye to a busy book launch week with a simple proposition. We may (as is the current case in the United Kingdom) speak regularly about the need for well-designed, quality housing, with a green component to provide for beauty and public health. But as Sustaining a City’s Culture and Character might suggest, we should ask whether blind adherence to these principles may neglect other key livability issues.

In the project profiled today, notice how the buildings emulate the 1823 crescent housing across the adjacent road. Open space remains. We see a mixture of housing types, attached, and detached. But we also see a concern recently shared with me by a tradesperson at my house.

Dan (name changed to protect his identity) grew up in local Council Housing and has serious concerns about the need for affordable housing nearby.  We aren’t building the right housing in the right place, he said.  Why?  Watch the video.

In the video, I discuss Dan’s questions. In this development, the more affordable units come last, in the form of apartment-style blocks.  Take a look at where they are—on the periphery, adjacent to a noisy highway and roundabout.

Why? It’s an age-old issue, more universal than not. Mandated affordable units may occur within a new development, but the path of least resistance is to put them in the least desirable place. Culture and character may manifest through compatibility and reservation of open space. But, as we know, “culture” and “character” have elusive meanings, and beauty is only skin deep.

Review the special “landing page” for Sustaining a City’s Culture and Character here.

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