England’s population is shifting further south according to the latest official population projections. The overall population is growing fast, and growing almost everywhere, but the growth is disproportionately in London and the South East.
This opinion piece was first published in Estates Gazette on 28.02.15.
Britain is experiencing the greatest population growth in its entire history, and much of that is concentrated in London. Never before has a British city gained more than a million people in just a decade. Extraordinary times call for a more serious response.
Housing in the UK is “worth” around £6 trillion, but that value is very unevenly distributed. This is a map of total housing wealth in London, rather than house prices – a different view that shows just how concentrated the market has become.
Is it time to redraw the map of London to reflect the reality of its huge economic pull on the wider south-east? New data released last week shows what an even “greater” London might look like.
Is it time the debate about the Green Belt got specific? It may have a part to play in solving the housing crisis, but only if we can make the really hard site-by-site decisions about where. This post aims to help start that debate on specifics, with a map you can explore.
The trouble with a housing crisis is that it unfolds in slow motion, over a generation, so we risk acting too late. In this post I’ve used historical and international comparisons to highlight the scale of the catastrophe we’re creating.
The bottom-line is that Britain is now experiencing the highest population growth in its entire history. Yet we are meeting this need with the lowest peacetime housebuilding rates in nearly a hundred years.
The big planning question is whether towns and cities should have more space to grow. How should we balance a growing population and protecting the countryside? These maps show how England currently strikes that balance.
The Green Belt has an iconic status as one of the great successes of planning and preservation. But in the last year this sacred status has begun to be challenged more and more publicly, particularly in London.
The map shown here (which includes newly released data), is intended to put the debate into perspective, showing the Green Belt alongside London’s economic geography. You can click on the map for a more detailed version, and read more about it below.
Every local area is different, right? Well read too many economic and planning strategies, and you’ll start to wonder. Can every town and city in the country really be a uniquely vibrant, sustainable, creative cluster? Play the OAPF Bingo quiz below, and see if you can correctly identify the different local visions.
In the bizarre parallel universe that is local policy, economic reality is suspended and vast sectors of the labour market are dismissed at a stroke. It’s as if the 20th Century had never happened, let alone the 21st.