In the 19th century it was the terrace, in the 20th century it is the semi-detached; what will be the symbolic house type of the 21st century?

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The Independent Online
In the 19th century it was the terrace, in the 20th century it is the semi-detached; what will be the symbolic house type of the 21st century? According to a new study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, it will be a town or city house, rather than a suburban home, and it will take account of "the four 'C's": conservation, comfort, community and cost.

The authors, Nicholas Falk and David Rudlin, believe the present pattern of greenfield housing development is environmentally and socially unsustainable. With increasing concern about car use and rising numbers of single-person households, they think suburban estates will become less attractive. They see mixed urban neighbourhoods of energy-efficient homes, shops and services becoming more popular.

Their vision echoes the message of Richard Rogers in his Reith lectures. There are already examples of developers turning to urban sites. But house-builders still find the easiest properties to sell are those on the outskirts of popular villages or towns. As long as planners allow them to, they will choose green spaces over grey, and let others worry about the environmental impact.

I am with Richard Rogers and Rowntree on the future of housing. My symbolic house type for the next century would be a block of houses and apartments built around a garden square.There might be a couple of shops at one corner and perhaps a doctor's surgery in one of the flats. If anyone else has ideas about the ideal house of the future, please write in.

"Building to Last" costs £10 from the Urban and Economic Development Group, 3 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NT (0171-928 9515).

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