Suburbs Falling Behind Inner Cities
A new Suburban Task Force – like the Urban Task Force – is needed to boost regeneration in outer city areas. Despite being seen as places of relative prosperity, according to the Smith Institute, a centre left think tank, over the last decade many have struggled, with shifting employment, poverty and housing patterns falling behind the inner cities.
The Institutes report – “Towards a suburban renaissance: an agenda for our city suburbs”, finds that suburbs in London, Greater Manchester and West Midlands are showing:-
- Poverty becoming concentrated in many suburban areas - London’s, official data shows more people now in poverty in outer than inner London (a rise from 20% to 24%).
- The proportion of most deprived areas increased most rapidly in suburban areas – 42% to 57% in the West Midlands – with marked increases in people in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Pension Credit.
- Suburban job levels have stagnated over the last 10 years, For example inner London created 500,000 jobs from 2003 to 2013, while in outer London it was just 8,000.
- Jobs performed by suburban residents increased more slowly than in urban areas, e.g. Manchester, saw suburban job numbers increase 6% -v- 47% rise in urban areas.
- Over last 20 years, house prices increased more rapidly in urban areas. The most affordable places to live in the West Midlands and Greater Manchester have increasingly become suburban. For example, in 1995, 70% of the cheapest 10% of areas in the West Midlands were suburban; by 2014 that had risen to almost 90%).
Suburbs must adapt & grow
Paul Hunter, head of Smith Institute research and report author, said: “To address these concerns we are calling on the on government to establish a Suburban Task Force. 18 years on from the urban taskforce, the suburban taskforce could look at how suburbs can adapt and grow, what support is needed and where, and what roles and actions are required from central and local government and other stakeholders.”
Affordable Suburban Housing
Supported by the Barrow Cadbury Fund, the report argues that without intervention the pressures on suburbia will intensify. Reductions in social housing in inner areas and cuts in benefits alongside rising urban house prices are likely to result in families looking to the suburbs for affordable housing.
Suburbs to Stagnate Further
Current policy emphasis on generating central urban areas economic growth means suburban economies continuing to stagnate; less local work for lower income suburbanites and, if there is fiscal devolution, local authorities will struggle raising revenue to invest in growth.
Increase Densities + Improve Connectivity
Suggested central, local and combined authority interventions include improving connectivity especially for lower income groups where travel costs take a high proportion of earnings, increasing housing densities to support population growth, sustainability, connectivity, and regeneration funds for tired and struggling suburban centres to create more local jobs.
An ‘Integrated’ Development Approach Needed
Forewarned is forearmed, so this report may herald a shift to suburban projects. These may be assembly and redevelopment of whole areas, or they may be infill and the addition of extra floors. Whatever the case, adopting a flexible, approach to unit design, delivery and assembly will pay dividends. Top this end a partnership approach through which you can also secure the benefits of speed, accuracy and the quality delivered by workers that enjoy working in enriched job environments, may be favorite. And of course using the most advanced forms of Low Energy building will certainly help your marketing. Call or e-mail us for a no-obligation chat today. You’ll be glad you did.