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Ike Ijeh looks at this year’s winners and concludes that, when it comes to innovation, councils are leading the way
This year, the Housing Design Awards are celebrating their 70th anniversary and they now stand as one of the UK’s longest-running award ceremonies. They were established in 1948 by the same act of parliament that launched the National Health Service, so it’s apt that, almost three-quarters of a century later, one of the defining trends in this year’s awards is the theme of “healthy housing”.
Wellbeing principles are reasonably well established in the workplace sector, but they are now making in-roads into housing. For some years now the HAPPI (Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation) principles have revolutionised the design of housing for older people by prioritising core health-related elements such as sunlight, open spaces, ventilation and accessibility.
But now, according to David Birkbeck, chief executive of housing lobbyists and awards organisers Design for Homes, there is a new drive to extend these healthy principles across the housing sector – as evidenced by the emphasis on communal living in this year’s award winners.
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