It’s become a commonly accepted fact that the UK is facing a housing crisis. Under supply coupled with growing demand in attractive city regions has led to spiralling house prices and many communities struggling to find affordable, stable and high quality accommodation.

The fact that we need to build more homes seems to be almost universally recognised. The challenge, however is where should those homes go and how can the industry convince local communities that a new development will benefit them? This is a debate which must go far deeper than a subjective view of what constitutes aesthetic quality, but as the government has recently acknowledged good design is crucially important.

As Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government emphasised in his article about the significance of architecture and aesthetics, improving how today’s housing is designed will help to ensure that it is accepted by todays communities and respected in years to come.

Javid’s article specifically mentions the ‘BIMBY’ (Beauty in My Backyard) approach employed by The Prince’s Foundation. The Prince’s Foundation’s ethos focuses on collaborating with local communities to create property developments which are not only well-planned and well-designed, but which enhance everyday quality of life for local people.

Copper works with The Prince’s Foundation to promote their vision of high-quality community-led planning on projects throughout the UK. An example of this was our collaboration with Farland Developments, now known as Stockbridge, and the Barton Family in Chilwell. The project focused on involving local people in the development of the site through drawing on their historical links to the Barton bus depot and creating a positive narrative for the future of ‘The Barton Quarter’ which put the community at the forefront.

It is this relationship between quality design and community engagement which defines our approach to property. Visually appealing development should reflect the strength and character of the community housed within.

Whilst an argument that improved architectural design will be a solution to the housing crisis in itself may prove somewhat optimistic, it highlights the necessity of strong community engagement in creating a successful development.

High-quality housing can only be defined as such if it utilises good design, represents community interests and improves local people’s way of life.

For more information about Copper’s approach to helping clients deliver meaningful community engagement and successful planning outcomes, please contact Roz Henville, Property Portfolio Director:

0207 935 1222