Since the private rental sub-sector ‘Build to Rent’ (B2R) was thrown into the spotlight in 2012 it has gone from strength to strength. In the six years since Sir Adrian Montague’s report highlighted the potential of this housing model to help address the chronic housing shortfall, there are now 131,855 build to rent units either completed or planned across the UK.
Last year it attracted over £2.4bn in investment and is forecast to grow by a further 180% over the next six years, so this is big business.
The biggest criticism has focused on an assumed lack of perceived social sustainability and affordability. However, the Mayor of London’s ambition is to have 30% of all units at ‘London Living Rent Level’ and this is already being demonstrated as achieved on schemes in the pipeline – so this argument is getting harder to justify.
As far as the effects of this housing model on our urban environments, all the mechanisms and ingredients seem to be in place for the creation of high quality, well managed and perhaps truly sustainable spaces.
Good landscape and urban design will be essential to achieving this, taking the natural and cultural elements that define a place and integrating them into practical, resilient and deliverable design proposals that deal with our complex and interlinked social, economic and environmental challenges.
Whilst the investment opportunities will drive the progress of these schemes, good design will ultimately define their success.
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