Headlines: August 18th, 2000

An important new approach for assessing the likely success or failure of future social housing is revealed in a new report commissioned by the Housing Corporation, the government agency supporting social landlords in the provision of good homes for those on low incomes.Produced by the European Institute for Urban Affairs, the Toolkit of Sustainability Indicators establishes a practical basis on which social landlords can identify the sustainability of the communities where they manage or intend to develop housing. The report develops a workable definition for sustainability founded on people’s desire to continue to want to live in the same community.

It sets out nine key factors identified as making major contributions to community sustainability – levels of demand for housing short and long term, the image of the area, levels of crime and anti-social behaviour, of social exclusion and poverty, of access to facilities, services and employment, the quality of the community’s environment, of the design and layout of housing, the extent of community cohesiveness, and the mix of the community. The toolkit guides users to choose from a list of indicators which social landlords can select according to their circumstances.

The Housing Corporation will expect social landlords to use the toolkit in bids for funds, signalling that future housing proposals must be viable long term. The Toolkit of Sustainability Indicators will be available on the Housing Corporation’s website www.housingcorp.gov.uk .