From the projects in Paris suburbs, to Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, to Broadwater Farm and Park Hill in Sheffield, high hopes and dreams have soured as, over time, ambitious new developments have become the housing of last resort for the most desperate. In the UK, some new developments, like Fountainwell Place in Glasgow and the North Peckham estate in Southwark, have been demolished and replaced. Others, including Castle Vale in Birmingham and Holly St in Hackney have been regenerated and turned round through intensive effort and at high cost. In all these examples, professionals from different perspectives genuinely believed that they had found the answer to building at scale, creating housing and communities that would benefit their residents for years to come. We need to learn from these experiences, and make sure that never again is so much money and ambition wasted, so that people who move into new housing developments do not just get a home, but also the prospects of building a future for the long term, supported by a flourishing community.
This report came out of the Young Foundation’s Future Communities programme which ran from 2009-2011. This body of work is now being taken forward by Young Foundation venture Social Life.
Social Life works in the UK and internationally to develop new ways of putting people at the heart of placemaking.