Town Planning Review

Space in new homes: delivering functionality and liveability through regulation or design innovation?

Town Planning Review (2015), 86, (1), 73–95.

Abstract

Concern for space in new homes in England grew during the mid-2000s, largely as a result of unfavourable floor space comparisons with housing being built elsewhere in Europe. English homes were getting smaller, but space standards in other countries appeared to be preventing the cramming of too many rooms onto shrinking floor plates. Therefore, government in England faced calls to prescribe national space standards as a way of guaranteeing a basic level of domestic functionality and liveability. Strict standards elsewhere were assumed to result in better housing products, albeit in the context of different planning and finance regimes. This paper uses interviews with regulators, architects and house-builders in Turin, Italy, to challenge this assumption and to argue that an appropriate, context-sensitive, balance between flexible regulation and innovations in design (frequently activated by site or space constraints) is often the more effective route to achieving greater functionality and liveability in new housing.

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Author details

Madeddu, Manuela

Gallent, Nick

Mace, Alan