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Framework published for homes that provide better quality of life

Words: Laura Edgar
Placemaking / iStock_000036031766

The Quality of Life Foundation has launched a framework that seeks to address the changes that the development industry can make to make sure that homes are ‘acquired, planned, constructed and managed to actively provide a better quality of life for everyone’.

It has been written in partnership with design and research consultancy URBED and published following research, discussions and engagement with communities, politicians and wider industry stakeholders in the past year.  

The foundation highlights that more than 170,000 homes were developed in 2019, but too many of them were built without consideration of people’s long-term quality of life. It warns that this results in developments that are of “poor quality, badly designed or built in the wrong place”.

It says an estimated 10 million people are living in 4.3 million poor-quality homes, which results in poor health and a reduced quality of life. Citing the The Centre for Ageing Better’s 2020 report Home and Dry on the need for decent homes in later life, the foundation claims the cost of non-decent homes in England is costing the NHS around £1.4 billion a year.

In addition, the foundation states that the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns brought this issue into “sharp relief”, such as living and/or working in cramped accommodation, with little or no access to outdoor space.

The body says the framework brings together its work on six themes – control, health, nature, wonder, movement and belonging and is built around a series of case studies. It sets out practical steps on how communities, developers and their designers, and local authorities “can create better places for people to live by placing greater emphasis on health and wellbeing”.

Professor Sadie Morgan OBE, founding director of the Quality of Life Foundation, said: “This framework comes at a pivotal moment for the industry and the UK as a whole. Covid-19 has brought the need for good-quality housing into sharp focus and has demonstrated the importance of building resilient communities.

“Paired with the upcoming planning reforms, it is imperative that there is a fundamental reassessment of how we think about the built environment and its relationship with our overall health and wellbeing. As a society, we should be coming together to ensure that no one has poor health just because of the house they live in. This framework sets the precedent for future schemes by exploring just how we can do that.”

The Quality of Life Foundation was set up in 2019 with the intention to raise people’s quality of life by making wellbeing central to the way homes and communities are created and cared for.

More can be found on the Quality of Life Foundation website. 

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