Understanding the value of social housing

Creating a cohesive look which does not distinguish between social and private housing – while ensuring plans include a considered use of green space – allows for areas of differing character to develop which respond to their immediate vicinity and benefit the local landscape.

Housing associations are committed to improving the lives of their residents and communities. Their activities, from building homes to providing community services, are driven by this social purpose.

Well designed and well managed green spaces are essential for the enjoyment of residents. They can be used for play, recreation, socialising and relaxing. They can also provide environments which enhance biodiversity and support climate change adaptation. Positive uses of green, open space can unite people, build communities and contribute to a healthy society.

Accessible and safe green spaces may be important to people’s sense of well being and mental health and be a positive influence on levels of physical activity. What’s more, residents perceptions of safety can be influenced by various factors, one of which is suggested to be the presence of a green neighbourhood, with high trees and grass preserving visibility across spaces. Other research has shown that people who took responsibility for the green spaces close to their home and maintained it, perceived the neighbourhood as safer than those who did not. (F. E. and Sullivan, W. C. (2001) Environmental crime in the inner city: does vegetation reduce crime?).

As we try to imagine what our post-Covid19 future could look like, research has shown there is public support for a ‘green recovery’. A report by Climate Assembly UK found that people would be prepared to continue many of the lifestyle changes enforced by the lockdown to help tackle the climate emergency and felt governments should take the opportunity to rethink investment in infrastructure.

Working from home is now highly popular and as a result, there has been a change in how – and how often – people travel. This has led the government to rethink investment in infrastructure and support low-carbon industries.

The findings set out below come from Climate Assembly UK, a group of 108 members of the public.

Nearly 80% of the members believed that the measures taken by the government to help the economic recovery from Covid-19 need to be redesigned to help reach net zero with 90% believing government and employers should encourage lifestyle changes to cut emissions.

Affordable housing plays an important part in this. Our high-quality homes are designed to be environmentally, economically and socially sustainable, with good links to public transport and pathways suitable for pedestrians and cyclists. This enables us to deliver what people are increasingly looking for in a home while helping the UK reach net zero.