On Friday the 12th of October, MArch studio 4 had an exciting opportunity to be able to speak to Thomas Dawance, a project manager from the Community Land Trust, Brussels, gaining a few invaluable pointers on the land trust project.
Community Land Trust
The Community Land Trust (CLT) scheme aims to acquire, maintain and manage the land, on which it builds. Being in a CLT scheme means that those who cant afford housing, or are on a low income, are able to get onto the housing ladder, as most schemes now do not cover the low income group. This means they can put into the scheme, be put on the waiting list, and actively engage in the community developments.
As Thomas explained in our session, the income of the homeowner influences the housing price. For example there were four different housing income brackets, against the number of bedrooms you may need. Which category you fit into, would depend on how much your house would cost.I thought this was a good method to manage the way everyone gets a fair price according to their income. This is all in the Brussels scheme, but would it be able to work over here in the UK?
CLT could have potentially been attracting investors into making a profit from their low priced homes. Thankfully, CLT understood this and capped what the homes could be sold at. Another interesting point, made by Thomas, was that if the housing price goes up with inflation, or a rise as we have seen over the last 50 years or so, then the profit is split between the home owner and CLT, putting money back into the pot for the next potential homeowner. This is how CLT keep their prices affordable. In the 1950’s the average house price was around £1,891(“The price of a home in Britain – then and now|SunLife”, 2018). This is around £60,000 in 2018, you couldn’t buy a house with that! This asks the question: how do we make and sustain affordable housing in line with our wages? What truly is ‘affordable housing’?
A report from the BBC (“What kind of life can you live on £7.20 an hour?”, 2018) said that the average adult needed to earn £859 after paying rent, for an acceptable standard of living. (“What kind of life can you live on £7.20 an hour?”, 2018) Minimum wage is currently at £7.38, (“National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates”, 2018) so at £13,100 a year, £1.091 a month. So unless your rent was below £200, this wouldn’t be enough, to be anywhere near the acceptable standard of living.
The aftercare which CLT provide is second to none. In most working stages, the architect’s job is done once the building is complete. Thomas explained that this can be disastrous., potentially harming our housing market. I think this is something our industry in the UK needs to learn, that we should design houses anticipating how people behave in them. We can’t always predict how people will treat buildings, especially as they are becoming more high tech. People need to learn how to run an efficient home.