Only good design can open the door
Nick Boles’ attack on ‘pig-ugly’ housing is a step in the right direction
Blindingly obvious as they may be, the observations of the planning minister, Nick Boles, on the pig-ugliness of new British housing are welcome. At last, a minister recognises that improving design quality is a prerequisite of any dramatic expansion of housing delivery.
Having empowered local communities through its radical reframing of planning legislation, the government now has to find a way of persuading them that large-scale development is in their interests. But there are pathetically few recent UK models that would suggest that it is.
If architects have a central role in that fight, they are also surely key to ensuring that Boles’ vision of expanding the area on which we build doesn’t result in the obliteration of the countryside.
Local authorities are now auditing their land-holdings with a view to identifying sites where housing could be built. There is also much to be done in increasing the densities of the non-residential parts of our cities.
It now falls to the government to start offering some solutions in which design is assigned the importance it deserves.