Open Source Housing Crisis

Context

With a shortfall of 100,000 units per year and a decline in the availability of social tenancies, London’s developers and housing associations add to the already considerable cost of housing by charging for the service of organising groups of people with the common need of accommodation. Those in need are often forced to accept precarious dwelling conditions, in buildings that are poorly designed, cheaply constructed and disadvantageously financed. The political and financial structures, such as the mis-alignment of average wages to the GLA’s interpretations of ‘affordability’ and predominance of insecure tenancies, that fuel London’s housing crisis continue to evolve beneath the radar of public scrutiny.

Action

We are convening a workshop concerned to scope communication technologies with potential to disrupt these conditions. This workshop is concerned with the design of network-based tools that would nurture a many-to-many approach to (1) better understanding and engagement with policy changes and relevant expertise; (2) experimenting with alternative models that destabalise the central role of the developer / housing association in decision making about the future of housing in London.

Outcome

The outcome of this workshop will be a special issue of Urban PamphleteerOur starting vision for this is a catalogue of transformative tools, tactics, and ideas from a variety of perspectives featuring contributions by select workshop participants. Urban Pamphleteer is a series of publications that confront key contemporary urban questions from diverse perspectives. Issues are distributed for free in print and digitally. Urban Pamphleteer is a collaboration between Central Saint Martins and the UCL Urban Laboratory.

Participate

The workshop takes place on 13 March 2015 (10 AM to 4.30 PM) at Central Saint Martins in the Graphic Communication Design studios and runs as part of CSM’s Restless Futures Events Series. Confirmed participants so far include Joel Gethin Lewis, Adam Greenfield, and Dawn Foster. Lunch and refreshments will be provided, but please note that we are unable to cover additional costs.

We would like to hear from anyone who thinks they might have a contribution to make to this workshop. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to Shauna Scott and include a 100 word expression of interest that indicates something about your background and reason for wanting to get involved by 16 February. We will select approximately 18 participants representing a wide range of concerns and disciplines. We want this discussion to be highly interdisciplinary and we encourage participation from a wide range of fields, professions and community groups.

Thank you.

Rebecca Ross, Shumi Bose, Shauna Scott & Ben Campkin

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