For decades, people have talked about housing in London and never come up with a solution that is deliverable. As the challenge grows, there are two issues to debate. First, delivery and at what price? Second, quality and placemaking. London itself has always been a city of villages. That heritage still matters today and remains incredibly popular. People want a place with character. They want to shop from local stores and visit the local pub. They want to feel safe and know their neighbours. They want a sense of community, as well as some privacy.
This whole approach has been right at the heart of our commitment to Kidbrooke. We have put our heart and soul into engaging with the residents and building a new London village on the site of the old Ferrier Estate. Today, a real community is starting to emerge where people feel proud to live once again. There is something for everyone here, for each and every part of society. Fundamentally, housebuilding involves creating community. It’s about people, identity, amenity and atmosphere.
The report, called ‘New London Villages’, identifies six characteristics of a real urban village. These include being a place that is unique, mixed, locally driven and designed for social interaction. The authors then tested Kidbrooke Village in the Royal Borough of Greenwich against them and made a series of recommendations for all new major developments in London. In particular:
Private developers should lead on community development – specifically on long-term regeneration programmes during the initial five to ten year period after the first residents have moved in.
Struggling London estates could become successful villages but the public sector has to prioritise quality and delivery, not just price, when they sell public land.
Click here to watch the video about this report on How new London villages can help solve the housing crisis.