February 12, 2015
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has called on all parliamentary candidates to focus on the built environment in the forthcoming general election. Along with a renewed focus on building more quality homes and schools, RIBA is campaigning for improving the planning process; developing flood-proof communities; delivering energy efficient buildings and retrofitting those that are not; and providing a good quality built environment to accommodate an ageing population and encourage more people to become healthier. The #BuildaBetterBritain campaign is based on RIBA’s report and recommendations, Building a Better Britain: A vision for the next Government. RIBA has created a campaign website to enable architects and constituents to find and make contact with their candidates.
RIBA President Stephen Hodder said: “The built environment is vital to the financial and social success of our communities and country and the health and wellbeing of its inhabitants.
“RIBA’s clear priorities for the next Government, set out in the Building a Better Britain report, is the basis for this campaign. Now is the time to talk about what that means locally and how every prospective MP can champion the built environment in their area.”
In the #BuildaBetterBritain campaign, RIBA calls for:
Better Homes Today
The next Government must respond to the desperate need to buildhomes and make sure that we build homes that people want to live in and that enhance their lives. We built just 107,000 new homes in 2012/13 but need to be building 300,000 every year; in the next parliamentary term we need to build 1.5 million new homes.
Well Planned Places
Our planning system must become a visionary and inclusive process that can ensure the places we create are well designed for live, work and play.
Happy Healthy Places
The next Government must look at ways to adapt to the needs of anageing society, and promote healthier lifestyles. This means creating homes that are right for older people so downsizing is a desirable option and encouraging healthier transport options with a focus on active travel such as cycling and walking
Creative Inspiring Schools
Schools need to be fit for purpose and able to meet Britain’s sustained population boom – 256,000 extra school places were needed in England for the 2014 school year alone. We need to build creative and inspiring schools by taking advantage of standardisation and economies of scale to help create timeless, but better value buildings.
Smarter Greener Buildings
Over the coming years, investment in new, lower carbon energy sources will mean that energy bills will continue to rise. At the same time, many of the UK’s buildings are poorly maintained and expensive to heat. The impending UK energy crisis can be countered by smarter greener buildings.
Flood Proof Communities
Flooding isn’t going to go away. 1 in 6 properties in England – around 5.2 million homes – are at risk of flooding (from all water sources: rivers, sea, surface water). The total value of assets under flood risk exceeds £200 billion – more than the current budget deficit. The next Government needs to build flood-proof communities by giving Local Authorities more power to block developments in areas vulnerable to flooding.
RIBA’s network of more than 35,000 UK-based members are being encouraged to get involved with the campaign, engage with other constituents and lobby their candidates to sign-up at www.architecture.com/BuildaBetterBritain to the pledge: ‘I promise to champion a better built environment for every community in my constituency to #BuildaBetterBritain.’