Headlines: June 26th, 2006

A new guide is published today to help private house builders and housing associations meet the challenge of developing successful mixed income communities. The guide, from the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, is in line with central and local government commitment to create communities bringing together people of different income levels and with both rented and privately owned homes.Researchers working on “Creating and sustaining mixed income communities: A good practice guide”, uncovered evidence of successful developments – both new and well established – that integrated both differently tenured and differently sized homes so that it was impossible to identify the type of tenure solely from the appearance of the property.

They identified four elements they see as essential in developing such successful neighbourhoods. They are a clear assessment of local housing needs and market conditions; a briefing and masterplan process which produces a full range of housing types and sizes in an attractive environment; a vision promoted and sustained by all stakeholders and a locally based and unified system of housing and environmental management embracing all stakeholders and with substantial community involvement.

The guide has been produced by Nick Bailey and colleagues at the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Westminster. It is based on detailed evaluations of key mixed housing estates across England and Scotland and draws on other JRF-sponsored research on mixed communities. The researchers worked on nine case studies in Birmingham, Caterham, Barnet, Glasgow, London, Northampton North Shields, Manchester and West Malling.

Nick Bailey said a mix of tenures was an important prerequisite to a successful community, but the masterplan and the design quality of homes and public facilities such as parks, the quality of schools and access to jobs were also important. “In the end, the success of mixed developments depends on whether they are places where people choose to live, and whether the mix of tenures and range of sizes of homes is retained through responsive management practices in the long term,” he said.

“Creating and sustaining mixed income communities: A good practice guide”, by Nick Bailey, Anna Haworth, Tony Manzi, Primali Paranagamage and Marion Roberts, is published for JRF by the Chartered Institute of Housing, Octavia House, Westwood Way, Coventry CV4 8JP and is available from them.