Sustainable Housing: Principles & Practice

By Brian Edwards; David Turrent | Go to book overview

Chapter 1

Sustainable housing: architecture, society and professionalism

BRIAN EDWARDS

No society is balanced and in harmony with nature unless housing is sustainable. Housing, as against individual houses, is central to perceptions of quality of life; attractive homes in well managed estates are as important as education and job security to urban satisfaction. Professional institutes have a duty to serve society in the provision of decent housing. This means housing that is desirable, well maintained, free of crime and of low energy design.

The provision of sustainable housing is fundamentally about the design and management of the housing stock. A decent home is essential for social cohesion, personal wellbeing and self-dependence. Housing impacts upon quality of life issues far more than any other form of architecture. The professions, particularly the RIBA, have played a large part in creating innovative, socially responsive housing in the past. Sustainability provides the impetus to give this inheritance a fresh cutting edge.

There is little genuine social progress without good quality housing. Housing is at the root of cultural and economic vitality because it is the agent that cements communities. The professions have been responsible for some of the finest and worst housing in the UK this century: urban housing that on some occasions has uplifted community spirit and on others damped it down.

It is one thing to design the fabric of buildings, quite another to sustain the fabric of communities through good environmental design. Architects, however; need to realise that buildings alone do not make sustainable neighbourhoods. There are areas outside the architects' control that are equally important: road or estate layout; landscape design; density; and housing type.These are also areas outside the developers' control: social mix; employment opportunities; and quality of schools. No matter how

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