Blog

Welcome to our blog, written by members of the QED team.

This is an outlet for news, observations on renewable energy, sustainable development, urban regeneration and movable buildings and even the occasional rant! (Please note these do not necessarily represent the opinions of QED as a corporate entity).

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London’s Housing Crisis: A guide on how to eat an elephant

The elephant
With the capital’s population likely to reach 10 million in the next decade and land prices still rising strongly, London has the highest proportions of both private and social renters than anywhere else in England. Housing waiting lists have never been longer, first-time buyers have never been older and we have never spent so much of our income on rent. What’s more these trends don’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.

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Response to the Housing White Paper

The Government’s Housing White Paper (February 2017) offers several proposals which may help address the country’s long-term housing needs, but the paper falls disappointingly short in offering solutions to support the people most in need of housing right now. With 7,600 households* in desperate need of emergency accommodation today, urgent Government intervention is needed to help tackle the homelessness crisis.

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Westminster. We have a problem.

  • 4 million working people will need access to affordable homes if there is full employment by 2024.
  • Over the last 40 years, fewer than 150,000 homes have been built per year. We need 250,000 to keep up with demand.
  • In the last decade, London has lost 8,000 social-rented homes.
  • Supply of new affordable homes dropped by more than 70% in Greater London in 2015-16 compared with the previous year.
  • Approximately 50% working households renting privately are receiving housing benefit because they don’t earn enough to cover rent and living expenses.
  • £1,000 extra is being spent to keep roofs over the heads of private renters – rising to £3,300 a year in London.
  • Almost 1 in 3 housing benefit recipients are renting from private landlords.
  • Taxpayers contributed £9.3bn in housing benefit to private landlords last year, nearly double that paid 10 years ago. Providing enough affordable housing, could save £1.5bn a year.
  • Currently there are around 5000 unintentionally homeless people in London. Significant numbers are children/pregnant women living in emergency B&B/hostels.
  • Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, has said that problems with housing are the ‘biggest risk’ to the UK economy. It’s hard to run a business if your employees find it hard to get a home.
  • The future for our cities looks bleak if those who make, maintain and repair things, who care for the ill and old, who clean, who cook and wait in restaurants and who look after and teach children, move away. Our communities rely on police officers, refuse collectors, nurses and shop assistants. The creative and inventive types will go too and they are currently a big part of the UK’s sales pitch to the world.
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A Fairy Tale for our times*

Once upon a time lived a family– there was Mummy and Daddy Pig who had three children – Paris, Pepper and Phoenix, who had all soooo long that Mummy Pig finally declared:

"Enough is enough! You now have to go and stand on your own four trotters. We have approved a loan (from the Bank of Mum and Dad) to go and build houses for yourselves. But take care… if you want to build homes that are fit for the future… you must at first defeat the ogre that is climate change – the biggest threat to our civilization.

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Why circles are better than lines

Well I don't hold anything against lines really, but when it comes to our society, economy and ecosystem, well the circular argument has it.

Since the Romans, we’ve enjoyed ‘taking, making and then disposing’ of stuff – particularly the buildings in which we live and work. It’s a linear process for which we are now counting the cost and more importantly, seeking a different philosophy.

"We are on the cusp of a third industrial revolution, where a convergence of new technologies in communication, energy and transport will completely change the structure of the economy from linear to circular." Richard Boyd, April 2015,

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