The experience of living through lockdown has changed people’s ‘wish lists’ for their housing and the areas they live in. Now more than ever, people are locating themselves where they want to live, not where they have to live.
For many, spending far more time than usual between the same four walls has changed their relationship with where they live. It might have felt like an oppressive prison, maybe it inspired cosy nesting, perhaps it was constant bedlam. Good, bad or ugly – or all of the above – many of us will have experienced intensified feelings about home.
But none of this has yet been reflected in the way we as a society talk about homes. The political and media debate is still focused on prices, deposits and affordability but fails to talk about quality and wellbeing. We remain locked into a paradoxical conversation: on the one hand, rising house prices, are taking homeownership further out of reach for a generation of young people whose opportunities are being crushed by Covid-19.
In the wake of Covid-19 there is an extraordinary opportunity for house builders, architects, designers and urban planners to rethink housing design and placemaking in new developments. What role will sustainability play? And what impacts on our health and wellbeing will our ‘new normal’ have? Can the Covid-19 pandemic be the driver for new housing that delivers more than just a roof over our heads?