London's Vertical Solution to its Housing Woes

For a city of its size, London and its skyline are notoriously flat. Now, as the city struggles to expand its housing stock to meet the needs of it surging population, increasingly taller solutions are being prescribed, concerning some.
July 29, 2012, 11am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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An increasing population, coupled with changes in demographics, are placing housing development pressures on a city where many already complain of overcrowding and unaffordability. Zoe Green, of The Global Urbanist, reports on London's increasingly desperate need for housing, "...the Greater London Authority (GLA) anticipates that an additional 32,600 homes will need to be built every year. When, where and whether these come forward remain to be seen."

One solution is to build upwards in a city that lacks density when compared to its peer cities across Europe. According to Green, despite an increase from 59 dwellings per hectare (dph) in 1999 to 145 dph in 2007-08, London doesn't compare to the 300 dph of inner Paris and the 500 dph of central Barcelona. Yet, many are worried about the potentially irreversible changes to London's urban character and skyline. "It is recognised however that tall buildings are not appropriate across the whole city," states Green.

So can increased density be correctly balanced across London's diverse neighborhoods? "We will see exactly how far we are prepared to compromise, but it is more than likely that more deprived parts of the city will have a far weaker hand to exploit as they seek to negotiate their future growth," says Green.

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Published on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 in The Global Urbanist
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