2016-09-24

Financial Times: "High rise projects struggle to win affection of UK public"


"The economic imperative to build housing higher in the capital divides opinion"

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"Building upwards has been regarded as the answer to the UK's housing problems before, yet the high-rise estates of the 1950s and 1960s quickly turned into symbols of poor planning, inequality and urban blight. But even as Britain grapples with the legacy of those experiments, high-rise living is back in vogue — this time marketed towards a very different demographic.

"Once again, however, it is attracting criticism. Glass-encased towers are only for the rich, say their opponents; they largely lie empty — walk past them at night and they are mostly dark — because they are viewed as investments rather than places to live; and they clash with their surroundings and cast them in shadow. All this, critics declare, fails to deal with the needs of Londoners who do not enjoy large pay packets, drives up prices and forces people further out of the centre.

"Yet the boom continues, with scores more high-rise buildings planned. Is this merely greed, with developers thinking only of rich, and often foreign, buyers, or can high-rise living be part of the solution to the capital's housing crisis?"

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