We will all suffer in London’s housing fiasco

Oliver Wainwright has written a damning indictment for The Guardian about the way that housing developers in London wriggle out of their obligations to provide affordable housing – and the fact that too often the ‘affordable’ is unaffordable.

Oliver Wainwright has written a damning indictment for The Guardian about the way that housing developers in London wriggle out of their obligations to provide affordable housing – and the fact that too often the ‘affordable’ is unaffordable.

Starting with Elephant Park, which is replacing the Heygate Estate, and moving on to other parts of the capital, he details the way that valuations are skewed in developers’ favour, and how ‘commercial confidentiality prevents even the local councillors making the decisions from seeing the figures. 

The practice is depressing, and the results are devastating for London, so rapidly becoming an unaffordable city for all but the super-rich. Rowan Moore details this effect in an article in this weekend’s Observer called ‘London: The city that ate itself‘ , describing the seemingly inevitable disappearance of all the quirky elements that make the city so appealing, a byproduct of spiralling property prices. 

This is a disaster for everybody – the rich, the poor and those who didn’t consider themselves poor until they realised they could no longer afford to live in London. And it is a disaster for others in the country since London is not just the economic but the creative powerhouse that drives so much of what happens elsewhere. We need a capital that serves everybody, not just the super-rich. Any bright ideas?

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