Mike Wilson, of Homes and Streets explains his hopes for the futures of housing in Scotland.
My housing story is about neighbourliness. To that end, I have joined a co-housing group in Edinburgh, drawn together by the potential of neighbours being committed to each other (perhaps even cooking – at least occasionally – together) and sharing stuff (power tools, cars, etc).
When planning permission is approved for all these all too prevalent housing estates that comprise a scattering of (usually) detached buildings, each with their own driveway and tiny patch of garden, you would like to think these ‘atomised’ designs could be nudged towards something with more in-built community cohesion.
The planning authorities don’t need to be looking down their noses at schemes such as Poundbury in Dorchester and Tregunnel Hill in Newquay, both developed by the Duchy of Cornwall. They can instead take inspiration from their human scale, plus relatively high proportion of affordability.
By ‘human scale’: narrow, curving streets and fairly high density. Ideally, not designed around the car.
Of course, co-housing offers – in its sharing ethos – the prospect of people’s income being able to go further.
If ‘affordability’ is a serious ambition of our ‘housing leaders’, then co-housing (in same way, shape of form – even relatively diluted), should be encouraged to become the mainstream.
And there is no reason why it cannot be retro-fitted, in some way.
Mike Wilson, Homes and Streets