A new study which unlocks the potential of three cities by creating almost one million new homes and 1,000 better neighbourhoods within their existing footprint has been released by international design practice HASSELL.
The Urban Housing Challenge, a six month study led by the practice’s global head of urban design, David Tickle, challenges thinking by examining how typical housing blocks in Sydney, Shanghai and London can be redesigned to sustainably meet the challenge of urbanisation, with greater access to private and shared open space, public transport and diverse housing choices.
The proposal by HASSELL shows a positive impact on housing availability, with 10 per cent of Sydney’s housing target achieved in areas not recognised as having potential, while in London it will cut waiting lists for houses, together with garden allotments which can be up to 40 years.
In Sydney, the design by HASSELL focused on the 1960s walk up apartments in the suburb of Auburn with the aim of creating greater housing diversity through terraces, small and large apartments and studios. There is still new housing development at the city’s fringe, however what Sydney needs is greater density to support the delivery of public transport and infrastructure.
Not only does the design by HASSELL double the floor space and number of apartments available, it improves amenity for residents by providing twice as much useable open space, both private and shared, and the opportunity for non-residential mixed use spaces such as a shared work hub. If applied to 10 other similar suburbs, the design would generate almost 30,000 new homes, which is 10 per cent of the city’s total housing needs over the next five to six years.
In London, the challenge is not so much about density in the built form, but addressing the slow delivery of housing – at its worst since the World War II – which is driving up property values. The study looked at the 19th century row houses with small private back gardens, which represent 23 per cent of London’s housing stock. These houses were built to last and don’t suit declining household sizes, prompting HASSELL to focus its design on a quick to execute add-on system and conversion to reconfigure them into multiple dwellings, while maximising open space.
With 24 million people and counting, Shanghai is one of the world’s largest city in terms of population, with approximately 3,700 people per square kilometre. As such, the Shanghai Government’s focus has turned to quality of private living space and increasing the amount and accessibility of public open space. The Shanghai study examined a typical cluster of 6-8 storey Xincun apartment blocks within the city’s middle ring, with a view to improving Shanghai’s future standard of living as the population continues to grow.
“Within a typical neighbourhood, our design allows for 10 new neighbourhood parks – all within a 10 minute walk – and 20 new residential towers overlooking those parks,” Mr Tickle said. By applying the design approach to 29 other Xincun neighbourhoods in the city, HASSELL was able to bring almost two million residents closer to parks and existing public transport nodes, while also providing new models of housing that deliver a 25 per cent increase in living space – supporting a number of the Government’s strategic planning directions.
As an international design practice with studios in each of these cities, HASSELL understands the the unique needs and conditions of each city, as well as shared challenges, and to provide a compelling vision for the future. “Living in apartments should not mean compromising on important considerations like a sense of community and access to parks and outdoor space,” said Mr Tickle.
“In fact, these fundamentals will become more important as the population in these cities continues to grow, so now is the time to start thinking about how to better design and sustainably redevelop our cities and suburbs for future needs.” HASSELL hopes this first stage of a broader study will encourage policy makers, governments, city shapers, designers, builders and communities engage in a new urban dialogue, to present newn ideas, challenge thinking and come up with different ways to sustainably achieve greater urban density.
Future studies will look at new models for delivering mixed use and retail precincts, urban schools and public spaces. Source and Images Courtesy by New study unlocks 1,000,000 new homes and 1,000 better neighbourhoods by HASSELL.