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Principles identified to build the homes of the future

Words: Laura Edgar
Community / iStock

Twenty ‘key principles’ have been identified and published in a report to inform the second stage of the Home of 2030 competition. 

The report also seeks to provide guidance to the housing sector as a whole. 

Home of 2030, which is backed by the government, is being run by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), Design Council, RIBA Competitions and the Ministry of Building Innovation + Education (MOBIE). 

The Design Council developed Public Vision for the Home of 2030 to inform the second stage of the competition.

Sarah Weir OBE, chief executive of Design Council, said: “We need to shift the conversation about housing to one about the home, and to emphasise the voices of those who matter the most when it comes to the design of our future homes: the people who will live in them.

“Even before Covid-19 brought about new ways of living and working, this research started to highlight that we still need to get the fundamentals right. We all need more, different things from our homes as we move through our lives, and this needs to be recognised, accommodated and celebrated.

“As well as informing the next stage of the Home of 2030 competition, this report should be a tool for everyone involved in housing delivery. Good homes impact everything – from our health and wellbeing to the success of those bringing them forward and national efforts to tackle climate change. At a time when housing delivery is particularly complex it makes individuals’ priorities clear.”

It sets out 20 principles that are based on the findings from local workshops and a poll* undertaken by Savanta ComRes of adults in England. Design Council explained that the responses of particular age groups, those with and without responsibilities, and those living in rural areas and urban areas were analysed as part of the research.

Design Council said these have been divided into six main themes to reflect the participants’ priorities and concerns. (See box.)

Elli Thomas, lead programme manager at Design Council and who sits on the Home of 2030 team, explained that during the engagement process, the Design Council looked at the issues that people see as important in their future homes and how this differed from region to region, and across various environments and demographics.

“We highlighted the differences between what people have at the moment and what they want in the future, identifying particular life stages where certain factors are more important and exploring some of the emotional as well as functional requirements that people have from where they live. Understandably, people want to live in their homes for as long as possible, which means accommodation must be able to adapt. We also need to look wider. As one workshop participant put it, a house is important, but the neighbourhood ‘is what makes it a home’. As another put it, we should ‘start with the village’.”

The second stage of the competition will see shortlisted designers, developers, SMEs, contractors, funders and product suppliers come together to develop their concepts.

Housing minister Christopher Pincher said: “I’m keen to see the Home of 2030 entries later this year and how they take these principles on board to deliver new low-carbon homes and independent living for older generations. Green, clean homes will help our economy to bounce back more sustainably than ever before.”

The 20 Principles for the Home of 2030

Being fit for purpose

1. A home that is affordable to run (e.g. rent, mortgage, utilities) so I can still live a comfortable life

2. A home that gets the basics right (e.g. noise, light, ventilation, temperature)

3. A home where I don’t have to worry about everything working as it should

Giving people agency

4. A home that is easy to adapt or extend

5. Having the opportunity to contribute to the design of my home

6. A home that is simple to fix and maintain without assistance

7. Having more choice and freedom over my housing options

8. Having control over what digital technology can do in my home

Addressing the climate crisis

9. A home that is environmentally friendly and is part of a response to climate change

10. A home that makes it easier for me to make more sustainable living choices

Connecting people and their communities

11. Having regular contact with my neighbours

12. A home that has spaces and facilities that I can share with my neighbours

13. A home that is in a neighbourhood that has all the amenities that a community of all different ages may need

14. A home with plenty of convenient travel options so that I can get around easily

Meeting the needs of every life stage

15. A home which is suitable for multiple generations of my family to live in

16. A home that is my current home, with improvements

17. A home where it is possible for me to work from home

18. A home that has quality private or shared gardens

Representing something different

19. A home that looks attractive and has its own identity

20. A home that is innovative and different to what people have seen before

* Savanta ComRes surveyed 2,039 English adults aged 18+ online between 29th-30 January 2020.

Image credit | iStock