Housing 2030: an ambition for the future

The conference closed with a session looking at how affordable housing might look by 2030 – and the positive impact that ‘getting housing right’ would have on health, wellbeing, economic development and climate change.


  • Tara Gbolade, Director, Gbolade Design Studio
  • Nicola Mathers, Chief Executive, Future of London
  • Will Seamer, Partner, Montagu Evans
  • Ciara Whelehan, Spatial Planning Manager, LB Brent

Housing beyond shelter

We need healthier homes. FoL’s Building Recovery report pointed out that getting housing right, also addressed many other social and environmental problems, such as economic security and resilient neighbourhoods.

This will be much harder to achieve by 2030 because of the cost-of-living crisis but there is now the cross-sector acceptance that there is a responsibility of us all to work differently to deliver more social value.

LB Brent has been approaching housing as something so much more than shelter. The borough’s vision for 2030 is to see the building blocks of good health fully integrated into spatial planning and into housing delivery, according to Ciara, LB Brent’s Spatial Planning Manager.

Guidance prepared by the borough in early 2022 on amenity space sustainability and climate change “has made a real tangible difference.” The borough has moved away from thinking about housing in absolute numbers and targets and is focused on addressing local priorities.

This has been made possible through ongoing collaboration with key partners and residents. The borough is now a strong enabler of housing delivery.

A vision for the future of sustainable design

Sustainable design and retrofit will play a big role in the delivery of affordable housing and wider social infrastructure if we’re to get affordable housing right by 2030.

Tara from Gbolade Design Studios shared three visions for the future of sustainable design.

Firstly, performance standards are where they should be. We are now building to Passivhaus or Riba 2030 standards by default. The baseline has gone up. Around 80% of the homes we need by 2050 are already in existence, but 60% of these are not built according to building regulations standards in terms of after design. So, we have to focus on retrofit.

Secondly, we’re moving beyond talking about Sustainable design. And we’re entrenched in regenerative development. This means we are thinking about how every aspect of each decision were making has a net positive impact on people.

Finally, viability is now well understood when we’re talking about optimising small sites. We know the strategic land that local planning authorities have available for affordable housing.

How do we reach 2030 ambitions?

In London we’re delivering approximately 10,000 affordable homes each year, but need over 40,000. Will from Montagu Evans whittled down the long list of things we can do positively between now and 2030 to address this to just two key words: clarity and flexibility.

“We need clarity from a governmental level on planning policy, which we do not have at the moment.”

Will Seamer, Montagu Evans

Without clarity we cannot confidently make the decisions needed to deliver the housing London so urgently needs.

Secondly, we need flexibility. From policy application to tenure type and delivery structures, flexibility is needed across the board. Will gave the example of 2018, when London’s Mayor introduced thresholds for affordable housing in London. Following this move, delivery doubled to over 30%.

Affordable housing: Overcoming crisis through collaboration is a cross-sector research and events programme that aims to make practical recommendations.

Contact Anna Odedun, Head of Knowledge, to get involved. Thanks to project sponsors Countryside, Montagu Evans, Pollard Thomas Edwards, Potter Raper and Trowers and Hamlins, and our conference sponsors Altair, Inner Circle Consulting and Big Society Capital.