Yorkshire architect calls for fresh approach to tackle housing crisis

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A Sheffield architect has called for a new approach by housebuilders to meet the growing challenge of multi-generational living.

Mark Barker, Director of Architecture at Self Architects and White Design, has been invited to speak on the issue at The Housebuilding Forum conference tomorrow (Thursday).

He said: “We have a major housing crisis in this country with simply not enough homes to meet the needs of the population and a generation who, for a variety of reasons, find it almost impossible to get onto the housing ladder.

“We also have an ageing population with some older people, often with associated problems of loneliness and chronic illness, living alone in family houses. Perhaps it’s time to consider these two issues together.

“As a result of these trends, we are seeing more two, three and sometimes four generations living under the same roof but housing developers, registered providers or housing associations have been slow to respond to these issues.

“We need to take a fresh look at adapting both our current housing stock and how we design new homes.”

Self Architects and White Design recently developed ten new house types which offer flexible designs to accommodate the needs of multi-generational living.

Key features include a focus on space rather than function with flexible layouts and ways of arranging space that are easy to adapt and extend for different uses – such as self-contained accommodation for older children, elderly relatives or working from home.

Mark added: “With falling home ownership and a shrinking social rented sector, four out of every ten 30-year-old now lives in private rented accommodation compared to just one in ten 50 years ago.

“Increasing numbers of older children are living with their parents during higher education, while looking for a job or while they save the money to buy their own property. We also have many more people living longer, with all the associated social, emotional and economic implications.

“It would be good to see the housing sector engage with this issue. We also need a broader debate about the need for new design solutions and financial models.”

Mark is speaking at The Housebuilding Forum, a two-day event for those involved in the design, build and maintenance of all types of housing projects across the UK.

Photo caption: Mark Barker, Director at Self Architects and White Design who is speaking at The Housebuilding Forum.