Since arriving in office this year the new Labour Mayors in London and Bristol are both working to reduce housing inequalities and increase the availability of affordable housing to ordinary people. These mayors understand that for their cities the lack of affordable housing and increasing wealth inequalities as well as being morally wrong have a significant social and economic cost. For Sadiq Khan in London, delivering genuinely affordable housing in new developments was such an important part of his election campaign that is was so called ‘a housing policy referendum’. He is planning to set a minimum standard of 35% affordable housing working towards a target of 50%.
But importantly these city leaders are also aware that to make a more inclusive city in future it will be important not to only consider housing but the wider built environment.In October the London Mayor published ‘A City for All Londoners’. This celebrates how London ‘attracts and integrates people from all over the world’. Issues of being excluded from the economic life of the city and the need to share “prosperity, culture and economic development” are identified. To achieve this the document highlights the value of housing with good transport accessibly and mixed use development to enable people to access housing and jobs, culture and social infrastructure.
Marvin Rees the Mayor of Bristol is also setting out an ambitious agenda for an inclusive city. He is developing strategies to share prosperity in a city where life expectancy can vary by 10 years from place to place. He is aware that public institutions and public spaces can deliver flexible spaces to support; health, wellbeing and social inclusion. The city is creating a housing delivery company and acknowledges the value of linking the creation of housing, education and health – with employment accessibly. In future Bristol plans to densify existing mono functional areas of housing creating not only new homes but building communities.
A City For All – Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees’ Annual Address and Debate 2016