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Old Posted Sep 25, 2017, 4:44 PM
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Loosen Britain’s Green Belt. It Is Stunting Our Young People

Loosen Britain’s Green Belt. It Is Stunting Our Young People


22 September 2017

By Jonn Elledge

Read More: https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...lanning-policy

Quote:
.....

The creation of the metropolitan green belt fixed the boundaries of London as wherever the suburbs happened to stop. So Goodwood Avenue stops midway at an unconvincing simulacrum of countryside that’s hemmed in by homes on three sides. There are two tube stations within a mile, yet despite the housing shortage, there’s no building on this land. Not because it’s unsuitable; simply because nobody’s ever built there.

- There are places like this not only all over London, but around a dozen other British cities, too. Green belts separate Coventry from Birmingham, Nottingham from Derby, Sunderland from Newcastle. Around some smaller cities – Oxford, Cambridge, York – the green belt is many times larger than the city it surrounds. Sometimes this land is picturesque, often it is not: wander the green belt and before long you find yourself in a field of nettles, or a wooded clearing full of discarded, stinking cans. Yet suggesting there might be better uses for these places is generally the quickest way to radicalise local people.

- Land use policy designed for the 1950s is an imperfect fit for the 2010s. The modern green belt is often not green at all, but grey or beige, full of quarries, dumps and breakers’ yards. Even where it is green it often takes the form of private golf or pony clubs rather than anything as useful as a park. Huge chunks are intensively farmed agricultural land with limited access, chemical pesticides and a total lack of biodiversity. And while the green belt may have contained London’s sprawl, it has simply displaced this growth to the outer ring of commuter towns. Longer commutes means bigger carbon footprints. Try getting by in Milton Keynes without a car.

- The green belt is also clearly implicated in the nation’s housing crisis. There are many reasons why we don’t build enough homes where demand is greatest, including the collapse of council building and the vagaries of the private developers’ business models. But a big one is that we simply don’t have the space. For example, Oxford is so tightly constrained by its green belt that there is no room to build significant numbers of homes. It’s not a coincidence that, once incomes are factored in, it is the least affordable place to live in Britain. So far, politicians have been reticent to explain the problem. Every major candidate in last year’s London mayoral election – including Sadiq Khan – pledged to protect the green belt.

- The simple, depressing truth is that most people who own homes in the suburbs don’t want those suburbs to expand – because it will lower their house price, or block their view, or ruin their favourite walking route with the dog. There are a lot of these people, and they are settled, they are vocal, and they vote. No wonder that politicians listen to them. Every time they do, though, they are making it harder for Britain to build the homes it needs. They are selling younger people down the river. And gradually, the group that benefits from the green belt is shrinking, and the group it blights is growing. Younger people vote now, too.

- In cities like London and Oxford, Cambridge and York, it’s almost impossible to see a solution to the housing crisis that won’t require green belt reform. There isn’t enough brownfield land outside of the green belt. And “densification”, while necessary, by definition means demolishing existing homes to rebuild sites to contain more of them. I’ve noticed that people who propose redeveloping council estates rarely to live on them. The good news is that we really don’t need much green belt land to fix this. In a 2015 report, the Adam Smith Institute found that just 3.7% of the capital’s green belt would be enough to provide a million new homes, all within walking distance of a station.

- Almost nobody believes we should scrap the green belt altogether, but by planning properly – working out which bits have decent transport, and are sufficiently ugly they would be better used for housing – we could have a transformative effect on the housing crisis. Looking down from the air, you would barely even notice. And if we don’t do that? Prices will rise, overcrowding will increase, commutes will get longer, and the economy will suffer as our most productive cities fail to grow. People love the green belt. Perhaps you love it too. But that, to me, seems like a very high price to pay to protect a few nettle-strewn fields.

.....



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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2017, 4:38 PM
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In a word, no.

The Greenbelt is one of the best and most forward-thinking policies of postwar Britain. The housing shortage needs to be solved by housing density, not covering more and more open space with single-family homes.

There is a ton of unremarkable mid-20th century housing in England that should be torn down and replaced with small apartment buildings (the 5-6 story terraces that used to be build). They're right that it should be done with existing transportation links in mind, but it should be densification of housing (and commercial streets) to create walkable areas around transit, not building new single-family housing subdivisions.

Save the green space. England has 55 million people in 50,000 square miles, it needs to preserve all that it can, so that it doesn't turn into New Jersey or the Netherlands.
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2017, 4:47 PM
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the green belt has a lot to answer for.



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Old Posted Sep 26, 2017, 5:12 PM
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Copenhagen's green wedge finger plan might be something worth considering:

https://danishbusinessauthority.dk/s...1_13052015.pdf

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Old Posted Sep 26, 2017, 5:51 PM
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Build up, not out
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2017, 6:37 PM
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Build up, not out
Do both.
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2017, 6:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
In a word, no.

The Greenbelt is one of the best and most forward-thinking policies of postwar Britain. The housing shortage needs to be solved by housing density, not covering more and more open space with single-family homes.

There is a ton of unremarkable mid-20th century housing in England that should be torn down and replaced with small apartment buildings (the 5-6 story terraces that used to be build). They're right that it should be done with existing transportation links in mind, but it should be densification of housing (and commercial streets) to create walkable areas around transit, not building new single-family housing subdivisions.

Save the green space. England has 55 million people in 50,000 square miles, it needs to preserve all that it can, so that it doesn't turn into New Jersey or the Netherlands.
I agree that densification is preferable, but there probably is a need to allow new construction on the periphery to keep costs down.

I mean yeah, if you're Tokyo you can get away with only building the core, but Britain has a growing population and is unlikely to allow Tokyo levels of new construction in the city center.
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2017, 6:53 PM
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By European standards, London's core isn't very dense. That's both the townhouse vernacular and the enormous parks. Good luck changing either of those, and that's a third rail (even more than the greenbelt perhaps) but it's certainly related to the lack of supply. Redevelopment of brownfields and midcentury crap can go far but a multi-pronged approach would go farther.
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2017, 9:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChargerCarl View Post
I agree that densification is preferable, but there probably is a need to allow new construction on the periphery to keep costs down.

I mean yeah, if you're Tokyo you can get away with only building the core, but Britain has a growing population and is unlikely to allow Tokyo levels of new construction in the city center.
Why are you interpreting the phrase "build up, not out" as meaning "build only in the city centre"? The city centre of most metro areas occupies a small proportion of its total land area and is often already pretty dense, leaving huge expanses of the city that could be made significantly denser before one needs to even think about occupying new land. Of course if you're going to limit increased density to within 5%? 10%? of the existing cityscape, then that will raise prices. But why would you do that?
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2017, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
Why are you interpreting the phrase "build up, not out" as meaning "build only in the city centre"? The city centre of most metro areas occupies a small proportion of its total land area and is often already pretty dense, leaving huge expanses of the city that could be made significantly denser before one needs to even think about occupying new land. Of course if you're going to limit increased density to within 5%? 10%? of the existing cityscape, then that will raise prices. But why would you do that?
By city center I mean something equivalent to the 23 wards of Tokyo.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2017, 9:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ChargerCarl View Post
By city center I mean something equivalent to the 23 wards of Tokyo.
London's land area is much bigger than this though. It's over 600 square miles compared to about 240 square miles for the old city of Tokyo.

One could increase London's population by 50% or more without building skyscrapers or over green space, just by emphasizing midrise apartments over single-family.

You're right that their will be NIMBY resistance to this anyway (even residents of the Rotherhithe peninsula are protesting plans to redevelop the area around Surrey Quays, which is an absolute postwar abomination), but it's an objectively better plan.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2017, 11:32 AM
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There's lots of room to build on brown belt sites and there are to be new Garden Towns and Villages, under present proposals.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017...-ease-housing/

Britain has lots of green belts and national parks that need protecting to prevent a further decline in our native wildlife.

This kind of opion is typical of the Guardian which constantly contradicts itself in relation to the environment and nature.

Indeed what is the Guardian suggesting, massive building in the beautiful Thames Valley and Cotswolds, I think not.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2017, 12:25 PM
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^ Exactly.

These pieces tend to be written in Britain by a) people with no interest in aesthetics or quality of life, just a singular focus on housing costs; and b) by people who aren't themselves affected by this proposed change in policy because they live central London and have houses far enough outside to not care about Greenbelt.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2017, 12:33 PM
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England is already super-dense, with relatively little open land. I would think that overall quality of life would be much diminished if green spaces were plowed over for suburban housing, even if you could modestly move the needle on housing affordability.

Also, is England really crazy expensive outside the Southeast? I would guess that basically all of England outside the London radius is pretty reasonably priced, and roughly comparable to other Western European countries.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2017, 2:01 PM
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There are cheaper and more expensive places around the country but yes, once you get far enough from London that not many people are commuting to the capital then prices are a lot lower in general.


Last edited by Jonesy55; Sep 27, 2017 at 2:47 PM.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2017, 4:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
England is already super-dense, with relatively little open land. I would think that overall quality of life would be much diminished if green spaces were plowed over for suburban housing, even if you could modestly move the needle on housing affordability.

Also, is England really crazy expensive outside the Southeast? I would guess that basically all of England outside the London radius is pretty reasonably priced, and roughly comparable to other Western European countries.
Britons have the least amount of built living space in the world, less even than the Japanese.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2017, 4:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ChargerCarl View Post
Britons have the least amount of built living space in the world, less even than the Japanese.
Really? You mean in the developed world, right?

Anecdotally, British homes seem a lot smaller/more modest on average than German homes, but Germans tend to have multigenerational homes, so not sure if directly comparable.
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Old Posted Sep 27, 2017, 5:33 PM
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Germany has a much higher proportion of people living in apartments, houses are less common and tend to be bigger i think, the UK has fewer people in apartments but many of the terrace/row houses are of apartment type size.

Taking all homes together, apartments, attached houses and detached houses, the average size in the UK is around 90-95m2, not sure how that compares with Germany.
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2017, 9:55 PM
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UK has the smallest sized housing in the West, for new builds anyhoo. In London it would be even worse.

818 sq ft=76 sq m. It's halved in size since the 1920s.


http://shrinkthatfootprint.com

http://i3.mirror.co.uk


The average size of a new build one bedroom property is 46 sq m, or the size of a tube carriage:


https://ichef.bbci.co.uk

Last edited by muppet; Sep 28, 2017 at 10:07 PM.
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Old Posted Sep 28, 2017, 10:13 PM
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And the average house price (asking) in London is currently £607,686 ($817,000).

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices-in-London.html

For a one bed:

http://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/pr...6.html#gallery
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