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According to the Mayor of London’s website, the current median monthly rental price in Central London exceeds £650 for a room in a shared apartment, £950 for a studio, and £1300 for a one-bedroom apartment.
That is to say, London is unaffordable.
Low- and median- income individuals and families cannot meet the financial demands of the city’s skyrocketing housing prices. This makes living close to one’s place of work in London a privilege: the UK’s Office of National Statistics estimates the average commute time at one hour. Families in the low- and middle-income bracket, young professionals, creatives, and key workers in industries critical for London to function - like teachers or police - tend to live far outside London’s city center.
Something needs to be done. So we’ve asked architects and designers to propose solutions for affordable housing in London.
Affordability is by no means a design issue alone. The topic requires the long-term attention and coordinated efforts of policy makers, residents, and planners. Architects, however, play a critical role in designing the future of our cities.
A range of ideas were submitted, some realistic and others conceptual. Common themes that were investigated include: methods of increasing density within the existing building stock; using shared or state-owned spaces like rivers, highways, bridges, train tracks, and even Buckingham Palace, to construct new housing above, below, or within; reworking low-density building types like warehouses and industrial spaces; and reintroducing alternative methods for land ownership, like community land trusts.
This competition is part of Bee Breeders’ Affordable Housing Crisis design series, which has already introduced several great proposals to address the global demand for urban housing. Some of these submissions and others will be included in the inaugural forthcoming print publication by ARCHHIVE: Issue 1: What is Affordable Housing?
Bee Breeders would like to thank all designers who participated for contributing to this growing library of design ideas!