Building Houses or Creating Communities?

Despite the governments good intentions residents risk missing out on sustainable communities in the push to get houses built quickly.

In its role as sustainable development watchdog, the Sustainable Development Commission has undertaken its first thematic review. The report is based on site visits and interviews with local authorities, developers and residents, the SDC
report assesses whether the Government has delivered on its promise to create sustainable communities.

Findings include:

• Housing growth is taking place in severely water-stressed areas. There are serious concerns about whether these areas will be able to cope with increased demand.

• A lack of co-ordination means that some communities have been left without vital facilities, convenient bus routes, community centres, and parks when residents move in.

• Government has made real progress on climate change with its pledge that new homes will be zero carbon in 10 years’ time. But the Government needs to offset carbon from now until 2016 by drastically cutting emissions from existing houses.

More at Sustainable Development Commission where the report can be downloaded in pdf

Martin Brown is a Sustainable Development Commission Panel member. The Panel is made up of over 500 sustainable development stakeholders from all walks of life and are consulted on a wide range of issues to inform the SDC work programme.


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