CSaP Policy Workshop: Affordable Housing

17 November 2014


At the end of October CSaP teamed up with the Cambridge Centre for Housing Planning Research (CCHPR) to run a workshop to discuss policy options for improving the supply of affordable housing. The workshop invited experts from academia, policy-making and industry to discuss current issues and future solutions.

Led by CCHPR’s Director, Professor Michael Oxley, and chaired by Dame Mavis McDonald, the workshop aimed to discuss real-world solutions that could make a difference to the availability of affordable housing within the UK. The diverse background of attendees allowed the workshop to cover many topics involved in housing policy, ranging from the economics of housing provision and housing benefits to the availability of land for new developments and how communities respond.

Affordable housing availability is a problem that require a combination of long-term and short-term solutions, as well as consideration of social, political and geographical environments. The consensus at the end of the workshop was clear: further discussions are needed, and they need to instigate real, practical changes and not just theoretical ones. The first of these meetings occurred in December, and an additional meeting is scheduled for the new year.

Attendees of the workshop agreed that the evening had been a success, and felt that some strong ideas had come out of just a few short hours. Future meetings will bring together additional stakeholders to focus on developing solutions for this housing policy problem.

An attendee from a central government department commented that “the workshop provided a welcome opportunity for experts from the public and private sectors and academia to discuss how to translate ideas into practice”. He hopes that it will indeed lead to the development of some innovative projects for increasing the supply of affordable housing.

Professor Oxley gave these comments:

“There was a wide-ranging and productive discussion on the need for an increase in house building in the UK and the ways that a higher level of residential construction might be achieved. A variety of issues including the role of the planning system, the capacity of the construction industry and financing issues were considered. The mixture of academics and policy and practice professionals provided a thought-provoking dynamic. There is a real appetite amongst the practice-based participants to take the discussion forward in practical ways that result in more houses being built”.

CCHPR produced this video, premiered at the workshop

Banner image from Eric Haglund on Flickr