For decades land use regulation across the U.S. has emphasized single-family houses on large lots. This approach has priced many people out of the quintessential American dream: homeownership. I
This autumn, builders will start work on Oakfield Road in Anfield. Many houses in this part of Liverpool have remained empty since the government’s failed ‘housing market renewal’ policy shipped people out, then stalled in 2008. Seven years ago, a group of residents formed a community land trust to bring nine terraces on Oakfield Road into community ownership. Now, instead of being demolished, they have been reimagined as cosy, energy-efficient homes, with space for local businesses, winter gardens, a market and a cafe.
The pioneering Dutch “Energiesprong” model – Dutch for “energy leap” – involves a major, whole-house retrofit to achieve a near net-zero energy home, typically including the fitting of an external “wall envelope” for insulation, as well as rooftop solar panels.
Big challenges require big solutions. After decades of serving the few, it’s time that development in Britain started to meet the needs of the many. Only then can we fix Britain’s broken housing system, and start to build a fairer and more sustainable economy.
For over four years, the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) have responded to a national housing crisis through grassroots organising and direct action. To this day the movement has prevented over 800 evictions across the country. Here Carlos Delclós interviews PAH activist Elvi Mármol.
Despite the recent crackdown on squatting in the UK and Europe, across the Global North we are now witnessing the slow emergence of an alternative politics of housing that seeks to challenge the pieties of neoliberal restructuring, and re-think ways of inhabiting cities.