Resilience and the City
How Britain’s homes failed the pandemic stress test
What did the Covid-19 lockdown tell us about the state of housing in the UK? The answer is troubling, according to new research from Place Alliance.
In January 2020, Place Alliance published the first ever country-wide Housing Design Audit: a profound examination of the state of English volume housebuilding. This thorough-going audit concluded that the quality of new housing in the United Kingdom is generally mediocre or poor. Several weeks later the first lockdown (in response to Covid-19) was announced, sending people into their homes for extended periods. The following question immediately came to us: what was the experience of people when they were forced to spend so much time at home?
To answer this, we created a nation-wide survey created with the intention of discovering how the design of homes and neighbourhoods affected our collective experience of lockdown. The survey was eventually completed by 2,500 households. The results were fascinating and a further indictment of the quality of homes built in the UK. Overall, one sixth of those who responded said that they were either uncomfortable or very uncomfortable during lockdown. As these respondents came from all segments of society and from across the UK, this means that if the figures were extrapolated it would represent almost 11 million people across the UK were uncomfortable during lockdown. An astonishing figure.