Sarah Halford

Architecture and Ceramics

the right to a home

The BBC have an article called Do the poor have a right to live in expensive areas? in their magazine section this lunchtime. It’s triggered by the ‘row over housing benefits’, which seems like the Beeb jumping on the Everybody’s-Talking-About-It Bus. Actually we’re talking about it in our office every day, as we have many projects for housing associations which provide affordable housing to all types of people who need it, in both rural and urban sites.

I believe that we live in a governed society [for better or worse] who support our most vulnerable citizens, and that should never change. It’s always galling when the simple truths of this situation reach their logical conclusions; if you have five children, you are better of to stay at home and claim thousands a year in benefits, that is a fact.

Mixing tenures in city centres is the best way to house people; as one commenter says at the bottom of the article, he pays a lot more for his flat than the lady below, because hers is a council flat. She’s a very nice lady, he continues, but why should he have to work while she gets her flat handed to her ‘on a plate’? It’s a tricky one, but would be made much more tricky if there was one area of the city for affordable housing, where all the jobseekers, disabled people who can’t work, single mothers and so on mixed among themselves. The ‘nice’ area of town would be populated by people who had a steady, high income, and never the twain shall meet. Can you spell ghetto?

The success of towns and cities is in the rich mix that exists, down to the people who live on a single street or block of flats. I understand completely that when people who do not have an income from work are given homes that look aesthetically identical to their own, it does seem unfair. People who feel like that should probably take a look at the living/working conditions in other parts of the world.

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This entry was posted on November 4, 2010 by in architecture.
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