Increasing the supply of homes remains the most politically popular ‘solution’ to London’s housing crisis. With the city’s lateral expansion restricted by the Green Belt, this new housing is being produced at unprecedented densities – forming a contrast to the low-rise terraced houses and private gardens that characterise most neighbourhoods. This research project, running from 2016 to 2020, sought to understand the experience of residents in different types of high-density housing so as to provoke discussion and inform best practice for London’s future development.
We researched 14 high-density schemes, most in the eastern half of London (see map overleaf). Their density ranged from 141 to 1,295 dwellings per hectare and they represented a variety of building typologies (from tower blocks to lower-rise courtyard developments). Eleven schemes were built in the last ten years, and we also looked at three historic 20th-century schemes, all in Pimlico. Using online surveys, interviews and focus groups, we asked about physical characteristics and social and operational issues - who lives in these developments, why they are living there, residents’ day-to-day lives, and how they feel about their communities and wider neighbourhoods.
This research was undertaken by Fanny Blanc, Tim White, Kathleen Scanlon, Melanie Nowicki, and Meghna Mohandas. Further information on the project and a report outlining our findings can be found here: https://www.lse.ac.uk/lse-cities-density-homes