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Pollard Thomas Edwards partner Carl Vann shares key insights from UKREiiF in Leeds


BtR providing families with stability

In line with its expansion across the US, multi- and single-family Build to Rent (BtR) will be a growth area in the UK. The next generation of professionals will want to move jobs more often - making mortgages less accessible – with BtR stepping in to ensure housing remains accessible to this subscription demographic. There’s an understanding too, that families will prefer the longer-term security institutional tenancies offer.

Distinctively local placemaking

In terms of wellbeing as well as market attractiveness – that indefinable feeling we get when we know we’re ‘home’ is now recognised. We need to commit to distinctively local placemaking responses, especially with larger housing developments. Generic won’t do. Thankfully, most at UKREIIF were talking about place-led regeneration. We need to hold on to this.

Retrofit the spaces in-between

Two thirds of humanity will live in cities by 2050. We need to prepare our cities for this growth. That’s ok: cities can be as, or more, biodiverse than rural areas (farming often reduces bio-diversity). We need to think about how we retrofit the public realm – all the in-between spaces - as well as the buildings themselves. Could Birmingham provide the template for greener city centres?

Plan for place over time

Bek Seeley, MD Lendlease Europe, notes infrastructure adoption in the UK is overly-complex and inconsistent. An early plan is essential for heartfelt, committed stewardship to be successful. Understanding who will mow the verge and who will unblock the drains needs 'designing in' from the start. Our antiquated processes need to catch up with our placemaking aspirations!

Modernising modern methods

Despite the current difficulties to align MMC to British development models, it still has a vital role to play in reducing carbon, tackling the scarcity in on-site skills and reducing time, noise and waste in construction. Mark Farmer notes MMC is not a binary alternative to traditional construction and in the same way we have been using truss rafters for decades, we should look to how we reduce the many thousands of individual components to be combined on building sites.

Practice architecture as a means towards an end
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Practice architecture as a means towards an end