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Speeches and Articles, Tony Pidgley, Urban villages housing crisis

Tony Pidgley: Can urban villages solve the housing crisis?

For decades, people have talked about housing in London and never come up with a solution that is deliverable. As the challenge grows, I think there are really two issues to debate. First, delivery and at what price? Second, quality and placemaking.

London itself has always been a city of villages. That heritage still matters today and remains incredibly popular. People want a place with character.

They want to shop from local stores and visit the local pub. They want to feel safe and know their neighbours. They want a sense of community, as well as some privacy.

Together with the right product and architecture, these are the qualities I think need to be embedded in Housing Zones across the capital.

This whole approach has been right at the heart of our commitment to Kidbrooke. We have put our heart and soul into engaging with the residents and building a new London village on the site of the old Ferrier Estate.

Today, a real community is starting to emerge where people feel proud to live once again. There is something for everyone here, for each and every part of society. Everybody has been involved, from all walks of life, regardless of the profession they work in or the age group they fall into.

From the very start, we have all had a clear shared vision and strategy for the kind of place we are trying to create. Somewhere that reflects traditional ideas about community and at the same time offers contemporary London living.

Fundamentally, housebuilding involves creating community. It's about people, identity, amenity and atmosphere.

Not every major site has to be a village. But they are part of this city's great history and I think they could help define its future.

Read more about the work at Kidbrooke, and how new London villages can help solve the housing crisis.

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