Dr Colin Stuhlfelder: Providing the ‘More’ in ‘More than Bricks and Mortar’: Where does aspiration and desire fit into the delivery of sustainable housing strategies?

Glyndwr UniversityColin Stuhlfelder posterFor the last 4 years the Housing Team at Glyndwr University have been working with local authorities and housing providers in North and Mid Wales to deliver their strategic housing objectives in an increasingly difficult and volatile economic climate. These various projects, including producing the Local Housing Market Assessments required of local authorities, various statistical affordable housing need and demand updates, and cross-border social housing allocation projects, have placed the Housing Team at the heart of the number crunching game of how-many-houses-and-how-soon in the region; but where does the voice of the prospective householder appear in these projects?

The statistical exercises and housing market analysis, tracked against demographic trends and household income measures, set out thresholds and target for the housing providers that recommend ways of providing both open market and affordable housing options, however the economic climate has forced a significant shift in the Housing Team’s approach to interpreting this data. It is becoming increasingly evident that the aspirations and desires of potential householders are not directly reflected in these exercises. However with withering funding streams and a deep inertia to act on all sides of the housing sector, there needs to be encouragement of innovations to ensure the most beneficial spending of sparse money to ensure the continuity of the principles of sustainable communities. The Housing Team would suggest that only by balancing statistical evidence against a broader awareness of what householders aspire to and desire in their housing options and communities, can housing providers make the right choices in what to deliver, and in what proportions.

The presentation will explore potential methods for including a better sourced understanding of householder and community well being, quality of life, and choice in recommending future housing numbers and types to better provide for sustainable housing delivery strategies for housing providers.

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