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Guide 5: Homes for all

Garden City Standards for the 21st Century

Practical Guides for Creating Successful New Communities 

Guide 5: Homes for All

The Garden City principles were founded on an understanding of the importance of decent homes in high-quality environments for everyone. Today, there is a positive opportunity to create desirable new places – such as Garden Cities – which provide decent homes tha tmeet people’s needs over their lifetimes.

New Garden Cities should provide diverse housing tenure options, delivered by a range of providers. Self- and custom-build homes should be important elements in the housing mix in new Garden Cities, and land should be set aside for this purpose, potentially as serviced plots.The aspiration underpinning this Practical Guide is that a significant proportion of homes in a new Garden City should be for social rent. Other forms of ‘sub-market housing’, such  as shared-equity and low-cost or discounted ownership, should also be major components of the housing offer within a new Garden City, with clear mechanisms to ensure that such homes are made available in perpetuity. While this goes against the grain of the curren tpolitical prioritisation of home-ownership over all other forms of tenure, and is a challenging objective when set against the current viability test set out in planning policy, new Garden Cities should be inclusive places that meet the needs of everyone in society. Consequently Garden Cities must include genuinely affordable housing for essential low-paid workers –whose employment underpins an economy on which we all depend. Garden Cities must also deliver intermediate forms of tenure for people on average incomes trying to get onto the housing ladder.

Capitalising on the opportunity for Garden Cities to meet the needs of the general population will require an element of public sector funding. However, the Garden City model of land value capture makes providing genuinely affordable homes a viable prospect.

This Practical Guide provides an overview of the key opportunities for (and the challenges in) delivering mixed-tenure homes and housing types that are genuinely affordable for everyone in new Garden Cities – alongside practical examples of how this has been achieved.

The Guide sets out three overarching principles for the successful delivery of a vibrant, inclusive and sustainable housing offer in new Garden Cities:

  • Delivering genuinely affordable homes for all based on a robust analysis of need: Garden Cities must meet the full range of housing needs through a varied housing mix, including high-quality social, affordable and market homes for people on middle to low incomes.
  • Delivering a diverse housing mix: Garden Cities should provide diverse housing tenure options, delivered by a range of providers, from Garden City Development Corporations or new local authority companies working in partnership with housing associations, private sector housebuilders and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), through to community co-operatives, co-housing schemes, self-/custom-build and community land trusts.
  • Delivering desirable homes fit for the future: Homes in new Garden Cities should be designed to be beautiful, sustainable and accessible to all. We have the capability, through setting high standards, to enhance people’s health and wellbeing over the long term.

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