Public-private partnerships are enjoying a resurgence with the co-location of housing alongside offices and last-mile logistics becoming an emerging solution for urban regeneration, Be First chief planning director Caroline Harper, Enfield Council’s executive director of place Sarah Cary, and Emily Newton, associate director at Assael Architecture told PropCast.
In January, London Square and Peabody gained consent for Vulcan Wharf, a co-location scheme designed by Assael that combines residential with last-mile logistics and makerspaces. “We have lined the edges of the industrial elements with makerspaces for crafts and artisans. These really activate and humanise the development,” Newton explains.
Be First has a similar scheme at Thames Road where homes are being combined with industrial uses.
As well as battling the constraints of London’s limited land supply, climate change is now top of the agenda. “As an industry, we need to manage things better,” Sarah Carey says. “At Meridian Water, we’ve set out our environmental and carbon strategy to set a carbon budget from the outset,”
Carey adds: “The right way to think about it is that if we are to meet societal needs, we need to provide more housing, different kinds for different generations. Rather than arguing whether it’s possible to build zero-carbon, it’s about trying to make our carbon budget work, given that we’re spending it now and it’s going to have an effect on future generations.”
Meridian Water is one of Enfield Council’s major regeneration programmes, creating 10,000 homes and thousands of jobs. Last September, Assael Architecture won a design competition for the second phase of the masterplan, with its Rightsizer concept.
The new sustainable building prototype adapts to changes, increasing the lifespan of buildings. The low carbon and reusable 100-year superstructure has a 10-year lightweight infill that ensures flexibility and reconfigurability. Newton explains: “Rightsizer was driven by the need to create efficient and sustainable buildings for the future. Designing for disassembly – making sure materials can be re-used without going to landfill.”
To improve housing in the next ten years, there needs to be a shift in attitudes from planning professionals in public vs private sectors. Harper says: “I don’t think that dualism is helpful. From my experience working in the private sector, I had a limited understanding of the role of politics. While the public sector has really great planners, they could do with a bout of working in a property consultancy and getting commercial astuteness.”
Cary agrees and is working with an organisation called Public Practice, which helps bridge the gap between private and public sector jobs, assisting recruitment and facilitation programmes to secure placements for people who want to work from private into the public sector: “That’s going to be vital when it comes to the future of housing.”
Chief Planning Director
Executive Director of Place