Architecture | Urbanism | Participation

Homes for Londoners

A good day in the midst of the massive Royal Docks where we are scripting the cultural place-making strategy. Steve joined a panel discussion on innovation and skills in the morning chaired by Jules Pipe and contributed to a roundtable discussion on community engagement. A lot of ground was covered.

Steve’s notes

– UK £1.8 T debt, £- 1.33 Euro’s down to 1.1 Euros in 5 years (15%)
– EU Nationals in construction workforce: UK 7-10%, London 29-33%
– EU Settlement scheme a bane for this sector
– Further plunge in value of £ (and increased debt) a possibility
– Reduced QoL – will we may lose much of our workforce
– Elderly traditional builders – average age of a brick layer – 56!
– Uncertain times

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local; Government
– Govt must fully embrace Modern Methods of Construction to get to 30,000 target (UK homes per year – London target is over a third of this), this includes AI, AR, VR, Robotics, off-site manufacture, etc – a radical shift
– Volume housebuilders – do we see them embrace this … no. Theirs is an entirely different programme and process, that is very difficult to overhaul
– Do we need a ‘paradigm shift’…yes
– Education primary, junior, pre, grad and post grad
– New apprenticeships and balanced gender construction force
– Shift in mortgage fixations (a brake on innovation)
– Overcome ‘Prefab’ perceptions old and more recent (Runcorn and Hi Tech failures)

What to do …..?
– Royal Docks area (where Fluid is currently working) to be defined as a radical research base, urban lab, rapid prototype resource, home and place for new thinking for all that is digital in terms of urban living, development, experience, delivery – a high quality open-platform for research
– A place to embrace AI, Automation, Augmented Reality, Autonomous transport – Generation A
– A place to evolve means of avoiding or postponing our extinction – we have 10 years in which to do so according to experts. Do we want to doubt them? There is a point of no return
– According to the Centre for London we need to overhaul the planning system too, economic planning and to embrace off-site and remote working

Disruptors and innovators
– Where are they? Do we believe the current volume housebuilders will deliver, that property development and commercial space procurement or service delivery can be serviced through current mechanisms – I for one do not. Norms of investment are shifting fast. The professional base supporting this is emerging through Tech and other sectors but we need more and we need it now.

e bold and, as we always have been, and buck the trend
– Recognise housing are homes and that numbers are communities (or a waste)
– innovations are at least as much social as they are technological. Our future communities and developments have to visibly deliver on all fronts

What to do ….
– Education and university now – technically and in terms of human sciences
– Hi Tech Apprenticeships
– Trailblazer programmes of Govt and GLA funded innovation
– Breaking vol HB Land Banking power
– Carbon Neutral as a minimum standard (products and lifestyles)
– Breaking Terminator fear of AI
– Remembering that ‘work’ has redefined itself for thousands of years

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