Housing in the UK is in a crisis. The question for smarter cities is: in what way can ICT and (urban) technology help to overcome this crisis?
UK cities hold 52% of the country’s housing stock and are home to 54% of the population, who settle there to take advantage of the jobs, facilities and opportunities the cities provide.
Because housing issues vary so much city by city, cities need the power, freedom and funding to make decisions and take the right course of action at a local level. Here is a link to a page with many blogs and video’s about housing crisis in the UK.
This housing crisis is gaining prominence on the national agenda, but it is a crisis playing out at a local level. People living in Oxford, Cambridge, York, and of course London, are facing rising housing costs compared to income. Also, the supply of homes available to buy or rent in these cities is not keeping up with demand. In contrast, in cities such as Burnley, Blackpool and Bolton, the number of empty homes is discouraging new residents and blighting local areas – here, improving quality rather than boosting supply is the issue.
In what way can modern technology help in coping with this crisis? Is ICT only an extra complicating factor this crisis? Making houses more energy neutral (with solar-panels and insulation for instance) is good for residents and their budget – especially in the longer term – but costs more in the short term… Should we face this crisis bottom up or top down? What do you think?