New research by the London School of Economics (LSE) has found that residents of Croydon's newest landmark, Saffron Square, are overwhelmingly positive about life in the capital's fastest growing area.
The report, Living at Saffron Square, found that the development is attracting a growing number of young professionals to Croydon. 60% of Saffron Square residents are under 35.
Most importantly, these fresh faces of Croydon are clearly enjoying their homes and their lives - 86% said that they were feeling happy, a full 18% higher than the average for similar places across the country.
Since 2011, the Government has been tracking national happiness through a survey conducted by the University of Essex on behalf of the Office for National Statistics. This is part of a strategy to move beyond measuring national success in purely economic terms.
The report also addresses the question of how you build a community for Generation Rent. There were 5.4 million households nationwide renting in 2014 and around half of all 20-39 year olds currently live in the private rental sector (PWC, UK Housing Market Outlook, 2015), with the number growing fast each year.
The report calls for fresh thinking about the length of tenancy agreements as well as practical action by private housebuilders to create a strong sense of community on new developments. The LSE believe this should include:
- responding to the growing demand for co-working space
- creating spaces to socialise, drawing on the tradition of parish halls
- encouraging the natural activists who emerge in every community
- running an events programme
- and supporting communication among residents via social media
Kath Scanlon, Research Fellow from the LSE said:
"We think that private developers will increasingly need to take the lead in creating new communities. Given the financial squeeze on local government and housing associations, they need to go way beyond traditional estate management and develop the skills to support genuine community development."
Commenting on the research, Harry Lewis, Managing Director of Berkeley Homes (South East London), said:
"We're trying to create a 'new normal' in which socialising and neighbourliness are just common place on housing developments. It shouldn't matter if you rent or own. Places like Saffron Square can offer everyone a sense of community."
Cllr Butler, Cabinet Member for Homes, Regeneration & Planning, Croydon Council said:
"Saffron Square is one of a number of significant new residential developments in the centre of Croydon. The council is delighted that developers are looking to nurture and support this growing community of new residents to help us create a real sense of belonging in the town."
Notes to editors:
Living at Saffron Square:
- The research was carried out by a team of researchers from LSE London, a research centre at the London School of Economics.
- Empirical research was carried out in summer 2015 and involved a large-scale resident survey, a series of site visits and interviews with local stakeholders
- Designed by award-winning architects Rolfe Judd, this iconic new landmark defines the northern approach to Croydon. The purple clad 43-storey tower brings a burst of colour that cuts through the Croydon skyline.
- The development is providing 791 new homes and 3,000 m² of retail floorspace including shops, restaurants and cafés surrounding a one acre public square.
- Photography of the buildings and residents at Saffron Square are available on request.
- The Berkeley Group builds homes and neighbourhoods. It is publicly-owned and listed on the London Stock Exchange as a FTSE 100 company.
- In 2014, the Berkeley Group won the Queens Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development. It was voted Britain's second Most Admired Company across all industries in 2013 by Management Today.
- Visit www.berkeleygroup.co.uk/about-berkeley-group for more information