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Vital Neighbourhoods

Lessons from international housing renewal

Vital Neighbourhoods

Lessons from international housing renewal

In 1934, Elizabeth Denby commenced an international study of social housing across ten European countries, with the aim of understanding how many British-born housing concepts, including co-operatives, garden cities and approaches to modern sanitation, had been used and adapted on the continent.

Almost 80 years after Denby published her findings in the book, Europe Rehoused, Publica commenced a research study in the spirit of this work. Our aim was to investigate what could be learned from successful international housing renewal projects, including key lessons around densification, refurbishment versus demolition, decanting and community engagement. The research was supported by London-based developer Stanhope PLC.

Vital Neighbourhoods: Lessons from international housing renewal reviews how renovation and redevelopment have been proven to provide a greater quantity and quality of social housing than demolition and rebuilding of estates. Our research revealed that the process of housing revitalisation can not only provide better homes faster and at a lower cost, but can also create and support community cohesion.​

Publica is holding an event with Deputy Mayor James Murray at City Hall to discuss the findings of Vital Neighbourhoods: Lessons from international housing renewal. The event will feature a panel of experts, including architects Anne Lacaton and Frédéric Druot, who will present the PLUS approach, a strategy for housing renewal which they pioneered in France. The discussion will focus on ways to apply the recommendations from the study to the London context. 

  • Title: Vital Neighbourhoods: Lessons from international housing renewal
  • Location: International
  • Year: 2017 - Ongoing
  • Client: Stanhope PLC