Boris Johnson yesterday set out the policies he intends to pursue to tackle the acute housing shortage facing London.
There was much to be welcomed including some strong rhetoric on creating a “legacy” of higher quality homes and it was clear to all of us who attended that Johnson’s going to be a keen advocate of mixed developments.
The thinking of mixed developments, where affordable housing exists alongside private properties, is that they promote social cohesion and raise the aspirations of the less well off residents. Unfortunately the execution is often flawed.
Stand outside most mixed blocks (most mixed developments seem to be flats) and you can spot the affordable properties – just look for the units without balconies, with less external finishing, robbed of the better views and in less sunlit parts of the development.
Some argue that those paying the full commercial price for a property are entitled to a better deal, but when even a cursory glance at the exterior reveals the occupant’s affluence the whole point of a mixed development is lost.
The Mayor who talks of creating a quality legacy must take early action to stamp out the current practice of visual apartheid.