Opportunities to tackle housing crisis through infrastructure ‘being missed’

The terrible state of the UK’s transport infrastructure is contributing to the housing crisis, according to a new report published by the RIBA today.

Ben derbyshire crop

It argues the UK’s transport infrastructure problems go beyond a simple lack of investment and are systemic. Opportunities to maximise investment in new stations and networks are missed because there are no common guidelines or holistic view, it says.

For example high-quality new housing should be built alongside transport to meet local needs.

Instead infrastructure is dealt with by central government and favours a flawed analytical system that fails to respond to local circumstances, says the report, Joining the Dots: a new approach to tackling the UK’s infrastructure challenges.

It makes the case for addressing the UK’s transport issues as part of the solution to the housing crisis.

RIBA commissioned ComRes to survey public opinion on transport infrastructure and housing and found that people in the regions feel disempowered.

More than 50% of people favour local and regional leaders to develop plans to improve local transport networks, compared to 18% who favoured national authorities.

The report sets out a new decision-making framework for local and central government, with a number of recommendations for infrastructure investments. The framework aims to:

  • Ensure that housing and employment are given greater importance in the decision-making processes for transport infrastructure projects;
  • Deepen the devolution of power and resources over infrastructure and housing to local and regional leaders;
  • Raise the bar for design by including design guidance in national and local infrastructure policies.

RIBA president Ben Derbyshire, pictured, said: “This report should alert Government to the reality that ploughing money into transport infrastructure in isolation is not enough. We are gripped by an escalating housing crisis and we need a new approach that links government’s disparate systems and processes together at a local and national level.

“We want to see simple but significant reforms to infrastructure decision making to maximise the economic and social impacts of public spending and to ensure that new transport infrastructure raises the bar for good design and long-lasting quality. We encourage the Government to take heed of these common-sense recommendations and eradicate the barriers to improving our infrastructure and housing.”