Housing The Future – Alternative Approaches for Tomorrow confronts a critical issue at a critical time. In London, a leading capital of global finance, there is a chronic shortage of affordable housing for those that service ‘the service’ sector.
The crisis is at levels not seen since World War II. In Beijing, capital of the 21st century’s political powerhouse, the displacement of long-standing communities is a daily occurrence.
In Mumbai, the biggest health risk faced by the city today has been identified as overcrowded housing, while in São Paulo, football’s 2014 World Cup took place against a backdrop of community unrest and the chronic living conditions of the poor.
The private sector, the state and residents themselves are searching for solutions. Whether housing refugees in conflict areas, providing safe water to the households in the developing world, or ensuring key workers can live in the cities they support in the West, the question of housing is not only global, but critical.
Providing affordable and decent housing provision is then, one of the most vexing and challenging problems facing designers, architects, planners and policy makers today. It affects the health, wellbeing and social aspirations of millions of people globally.
It has attracted the attention of politicians, community groups, artists and architects, and was at the heart of avant-garde design thinking throughout the 20th century and needs to be today. To date, no permanent solutions have been found.
The book series, Housing the Future, of which this volume forms the first part, brings together theoretical essays from academics, articles that document built projects by professionals, and design proposals from students and their tutors from across the world.
The objectives of the series are to raise awareness of the issue of affordable housing; highlight innovative solutions to communities and professionals from multiple perspectives; encourage the next generation of designers to address housing; and to challenge preconceptions about residential architecture.
In collecting the various essays and projects that these volumes present, academics from various universities have been invited to develop essays concerned with analysing issues that affect or result from questions of design and / or the documentation of built projects.
They thus relate directly with the complementary design proposals that also make up this volume.
The deliberate emphasis here is on practice as opposed to theory. The projects included are all examples, whether built or proposed, that deal with the related issues of ‘affordability’, quality and appropriateness.
These problems are not site or issue specific and, as a result, neither are the projects in these books. Consequently, no specific site is specified and no set criteria for how to address the issue were set in advance.
What results is a rich and sometimes complex set of projects dealing with issues particular to several countries including the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Canada, Germany, the United States, Cyprus, Greece and several Latin American contexts.
The variety of places represented in the book is mirrored in the variety of issues under consideration: planning and strategic approaches that consider issues of legal, finance and planning issues; urban design initiatives that contemplate the inevitable urban implications of housing large numbers of people in specific locations;
sustainable house initiatives that consider housing at the level of the individual building or on a social platform; renovating for life considerations that underline creative and practical ideas on how to re-use existing housing (or other building stock) to meet modern housing needs, and much more.