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Conservative think tank calls for demolition of high-rise housing

5 February 2013 No Comment

Tower blocks and council estates should be bulldozed and replaced with terraced homes in order to provide more welcoming communities, according to a new report.

High rise flats, Glasgow

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Commissioned by Conservative think tank Policy Exchange, the document calls for all high-rise buildings constructed between 1950s – 1980s to be demolished in an effort to remove “no go areas” and tackle social problems, reports bbc.co.uk.

high-rise-housing-uk-3

Image source

Policy Exchange Current claims that terraced streets and low-rise flats could achieve the same density as ‘cities in the sky’, if only building regulations were to allow their easy construction. The report claims that as many as 260,00 new homes could be built in London over seven years if the high-rise blocks were taken down.

New low-rise flats could help build stronger communities

The report’s author, Nicholas Boys Smith, also argues that tenants have been known to suffer more stress, mental health problems and even marriage breakdowns by living in high-rise blocks. It was claimed that new blocks would solve these issues and help build stronger communities.

“It’s time we ripped down the mistake of the past and started building proper streets where people want to live. We must not repeat mistakes by building housing which makes people’s life a misery,” he said.

RIBA takes a different stance

high-rise-housing-uk-2 Image source

RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) on the other hand argues that these communities are actually beginning to flourish, while the government shouldn’t be looking to knock down high-rise flats due to the housing crisis in Britain.

In a statement cited by bdonline.co.uk, RIBA added that Policy Exchange must look for more options than just terraced houses when outlining their plans. The group placed an emphasis on quality design for the new buildings, which could involve the installation of interior cladding to improve insulation.

“We believe there are more than just a few types of buildings that can achieve this,” RIBA said.

It’s thought around 140,000 households with children live in the second floor or above in high-rise blocks around England, despite the reports of poor crime rates and what the paper describes as “social breakdown”.

Author: Richard Towey    Date Written: 5 February 2013

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