These three initiatives offer sustainable solutions to the problem of affordable housing
This piece is part of our Hope 100 series, telling the stories of the people and organisations creating hope for 2020 and beyond
#52 Goldsmith Street
This street in the UK city of Norwich is a good news story for multiple reasons. Via 100 homes, the development offers traditional though increasingly hard to come by council housing – properties owned by Norwich city council and leased on secure tenancies and fixed rents. On top of that, all the houses have been built to Passivhaus standards of energy efficiency – and design that won architects Mikhail Riches and Cathy Hawley the prestigious RIBA Stirling prize for 2019.
Combining a Community Land Trust with a Mutual Home Ownership model, YorSpace demonstrates it is possible to create homes that are sustainable and genuinely affordable. The 19 properties at its flagship Lowfield Green project in York, due to be completed later in 2020, cost around a third less than average market rates in the area. Among its proudest success so far, say founders, is the way the project has engaged local people.
Energiesprong, a Dutch non-profit, is trialling a way of transforming old council houses into carbon-neutral homes in Nottingham, with a view to rolling it out elsewhere. The company helps housing authorities secure funding for upgrades, such as fitting solar panels. It also works with regulators to tune policy so authorities can receive some of the money that tenants save due to the upgrades. The resultant cash helps fund more retrofits.
Image caption: Goldsmith Street, the prize-winning council homes in Norwich: Tim Crocker/RIBA