#AskCaCHE: Covid-19, homes and place – Twitter Q&A summary

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)’s Festival of Social Science is an annual celebration of the social sciences and their impact on the wellbeing and economy of society in the UK. This year the Festival, which takes place from 7 to 15 November, is a digital-first event; and, for our part, we hosted a series of Twitter Q&A sessions throughout the week. This blog provides a summary of the fourth session (12/11/20) in which Professor Flora Samuel, our Place theme lead, answered your questions about her project on Covid-19 and it impact on homes and places, part of a wider programme of work by CaCHE on housing policy and the pandemic.

Q1. Can you start us off today by telling us a little more about the aim(s) of your research?

To capture some of the impact of the pandemic on housing delivery, local authority management of homes and also the way the design of homes and neighbourhoods has made such a difference. I wanted to make a foundation for other research.

Q2. Thanks, Flora! And what stage are you at with the research?

Just published the interim report. This is based on interviews with policy makers, local authorities and others. The second stage would be to develop a review of the extensive research that has been undertaken on the wellbeing impacts of homes during the pandemic.

Q3. Hello Flora. The pandemic has made us all more aware of our homes and the spaces around them. Do you think this will lead to people placing an increasing emphasis on place and greenspace in future?

Absolutely. Conversations with planners mentioned in the report indicate that this is likely to be a vital part of planning going forward. It shouldn’t be possible to give permission to homes with no balconies and no access to amenity space. I’m a fan of @FieldsInTrust barometer.

Q4. Thanks Flora. If I could ask a supplementary question, are there ways that planners and officials involved in land allocation and assembly can help to deliver better quality places on new build projects?

There is lots going on in this area at the moment. I’m working with @Stantec on the development of the Better Places Tool’ to do just this. I’m pushing social value mapping that will can be used with other kinds of mapping to give a much deeper understanding of land value.

Q5. Hi Flora, great to have you here. How do you think the pandemic is going to affect the new housing delivery in the future, especially in terms of design, space etc.? Thanks.

Great question. We are publishing a report early Dec on why average housing in the UK is the way it is. I think social care, health and housing agendas will join up making is unacceptable to build unresilient housing. Policy in Wales has already moved this way.

Q6. Also, what are your thoughts on the roles of housing users in the design and building of future homes? Has Working from Home (WFH) sent any new message on the roles of residents’ engagement in the design? Thanks.

Where do I start? It always pays to get residents involved but they aren’t always there at the outset. We need much better tools for engagement. Am working with @qualityoflifeuk on this. Think WFH is going to completely change the profile of our cities.

Q7. The #ESRCFestival is a celebration of the social sciences and their impact on the wellbeing and economy of society – how would you describe the wider social value of your research?

My favourite subject! I’m pushing for the SV of design to be recognised, connecting people, active lifestyles, autonomy, positive emotions, nature as well as jobs. The report gives examples of organisations who are emphasising this in the face of cuts.

Q8. Thanks for taking questions today. We were pleased to publish your interim report at the end of last month. Are there any findings you’d like to draw attention to now?

Most important thing is that nobody has forgotten the Climate Change Emergency. The pandemic has provided an opportunity to radically rethink delivery and to build back better. Climate Change & resilience have to be integral to planning and policy going forward. @EdgeDebate


Date: November 13, 2020 11:44 am


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