Grow Your own Suburbia A Family approach to Housing Welfare Joanne Preston Y5 U22 Brief Grant Shapps, the Minister for Housing and Local Government and MP for Welwyn and Hatfield is championing the idea of a new generation of Garden Cities as a possible solution to the current UK Housing Crisis. In the context of the recent transformations in home ownership and housing markets and their important implications for understanding contemporary family relations, this project questions to what extent the suburban Garden City House type, envisaged by Ebenezer Howard in 1898, is relevant today. The suburban ideal of the Garden City housing typology is based largely on the idea of the ‘nuclear family’, however this nostalgic image of family life is not accurate today. Older generations have been disproportionally advantaged by historic policy and housing market developments and younger ones likewise disadvantaged. This difference in condition between young and old has helped re-enforce family relations with one housing poor generation enhancing dependency on the other housing-rich one. The project proposes an alternative to the garden city housing typology, reflecting this evolving system of family housing welfare. The proposal imagines a more flexible system of housing and tenure, whereby houses might be owned but sited land that is rented; or parts may be transferable to children when they grow older and leave or saleable to release equity without the needs of remortgaging. Rather than envisaging the house as a static object, the project imagines as a flexible environment, adapting to the changing needs of a growing family. The proposal challenges the notion of the ‘Beau Ideal’ whereby the suburb is seen as a countering haven and place to retreat from city life. The proposal aims to relink the spheres of home and work, urban and rural. The project proposes an infrastructure for today yet through a series of final images will imagine how the typology will have evolved in 2050. Detailed Program The project is based on 3 sites within urban, rural and suburban environments. The proposal looks at how this new typology can be applied to unused brown-field sites across the UK taking advantage of the specific environments each has to offer. Urban Site Infill infrastructures will create a ‘home from home’ people who commute from the suburban or rural site to work in the city one or 2 days per week. The program for these sites includes:
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Office/conference rooms 8-12 Mini houses – the minimum dwelling space required for shelter and to feel ‘at home’ for a night or two. Childcare facilities. Communal space for gathering in the evenings A shop front market stall/grocers for the sale of produce from the rural/suburban sites within the city.
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Domestic infrastructures largely self sufficient communities with 7-10 households, sharing amenities such as gas, heat and water harvesting Space for dwellings to ‘grow’ or ‘shrink’ Workspaces and business start-ups. Creche Communal space such as parks, streets for children to play Community gardens for the production of food and for leisure.
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Live/work housing Crèche Passive and active agricultural production of food
Nature information centre The site of an annual harvest festival bringing those from the city into the greenbelt
Definition of Community of Users The houses will be aimed at young professionals forced to live outside London due to increasing house prices or tempted by the idea of suburban/rural lifestyle.