No more toxic assets
in 2009 I asked i we coulduse the breathing space oered by the recession tond new ways to improve housing design quality. Thenin
Who should build our homes?
six leading thinkersproposed new models or housing delivery.They then joined workshops with other experts to refecton the proposals. CABE is extremely grateul to all theparticipants - housebuilders, policy makers, architects,planners, academics, valuers and economists. Theysuggested practical actions and sensible policychanges which could transorm housing design quality.The challenge is tough, but not intractable.In
Simpler and better
, I have distilled CABE’sconclusions about the most important ideas whichhave emerged. ‘Simpler’ reers to a new, streamlinedstandards ramework that we’re proposing, alongsidethe introduction o a minimum design standard or allnew homes in Britain (‘better’). The industry should geta clear, consistent set o standards, and the consumerand the community get a guarantee o homes that aregood enough everywhere.The maxims o the day are doing more with less anddoing things dierently, not simply doing less. Not todumb down approaches to design quality, but toensure that those things that really matter are realised.Richard SimmonsIn November 2008 President Obama’s chie-o-starevisited economist Paul Romer’s advice on crises.Willing outmoded US industries to restructure inresponse to the recession, Rahm Emanuel said“You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste - it’s anopportunity to do important things that you wouldotherwise avoid”.The same maxim inspired
No more toxic assets
.The housebuilding industry was in shock rom thecredit crunch. Was this the opportunity to shapea brighter uture or housing delivery and designquality? Could we change the unchangeable?To do so, did we have to think the unthinkable?Getting better design or new homes and theneighbourhoods in which they sit has been oneo the more intractable challenges aced bygovernment in recent years. During the workshopswhich helped generate this report, it was agreedthat the design challenge is dicult or severalreasons. Partly it’s a result o the culture andeconomics o housing provision in the UK. Partlyit’s because o the particular ways in which townplanning and the structure and nancing o theindustry work.CABE’s statutory purpose is to improve thedesign quality o buildings and places. We knowthat design quality matters. We have the evidencethat there is a need or improvement. We believethat there could be xes. But we need to startby addressing six main points o contention thatunderpin the debate about housing design.
Introduction1 What is the problem?
,London: CABE, cabeurl.com/bx2 Whitehead, C.,Studdert, P., Peace,L., Hill, S., Desai, P. &Robinson, D. (2009)