High-Rise Residential Development: An International Evidence Review

Dr James White, CaCHE Co-Investigator based at the University of Glasgow, will lead an international evidence review on high-rise residential development. This blog provides more information about the project and how to get involved. 

The number of high-rise residential buildings either under construction or in the planning pipeline in UK cities is on the rise. The boom in high-rise residential development is especially intense in London where clusters of cranes assembling the luxury penthouses of the future are an everyday sight on the skyline. Outside of London, development is more modest but is also gathering pace.

A recent 2018 study by New London Architecture found that 115 tall buildings are currently under construction in the city and predicted that over 100,000 homes in London could be provided in high-rise buildings by 2030. In Manchester, a number of projects are planned or under development, including Trinity Islands, which incorporates a 67-storey residential tower, and Deansgate Square, a cluster of high-rise buildings that will eventually incorporate just over 1,500 luxury flats. Similar projects are also appearing in Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol and even Norwich, where proposals for a 20-storey tower were recently submitted (Moore 2018).

Last week the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence launched an international evidence review on high-rise residential development to better understand this new housing phenomenon. The review will develop an evidence base on how high-rise residential buildings are planned and built, and the economic and institutional factors fuelling this type of development while also seeking out evidence on the social, economic and environmental impact of high-rise residential buildings.

While luxury high-rise buildings are a relatively new phenomenon in the UK, they are much more common in skyscraper cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, New York and Vancouver. The CaCHE review will therefore seek out academic research conducted in cities with a history of high-rise residential living around the world, while also compiling policy and guidance on the planning, construction and maintenance of tall buildings both in the UK and further afield.

The review will probe whether high-rise residential buildings are an answer to the housing crisis, while reflecting on the internationalisation of the marketplace for luxury flats and apartments. It will explore questions of privatisation, gentrification and sense of place and explore the ageing of high-rise buildings and their long-term sustainability.

The project commenced with an advisory group meeting held at the RTPI in London on the 11 October 2018. The meeting brought together a small group of expert researchers, politicians, architects and policymakers involved in the assessment and delivery of luxury high-rise buildings in the UK and around the world. The review will proceed over the next twelve months and will be published in the form of a written report and a supporting policy briefing paper in Summer 2019.

Visit the research project page for further details on the scope of the high-rise evidence review. If you would like to get involved with the project, please contact Dr Chris Foye.

Dr James White is a Co-Investigator in the Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE). This blog was originally posted on the CaCHE website