Create Streets is a research institute that advises community groups and councils on planning and developing urban housing that matches how people want to live.
“Politicians ask how do we build more homes when they should be asking how do we make new homes more popular,” says founding director, and former government policy adviser, Nicholas Boys Smith. People tend to want the type of buildings that the data shows overwhelmingly correlate with wellbeing: terraced housing, not tower blocks. So the question Create Streets asks is: how do we design housing that people will actually love not just reluctantly accept?
It seems they’ve found the answer. Create Streets recently intervened in Mount Pleasant, where a controversial development planned on land owned by the Royal Mail was strongly opposed by the local community. The team worked with locals to co-design an alternative plan, which involved higher density and lower rise buildings, and community support rose to 99 per cent. Currently, the institute is working with a Tottenham residents’ group to develop their ability to engage constructively with their council for an upcoming estate regeneration.
Create Streets has a 15-year aim to change the UK urban planning system, and it's doing this by making the case for popular housing and co-design, and helping communities build capacity to fight their corner.