It's a small world
Miles Lanham, business manager for Westminster and Lambeth at Genesis Housing Group, guest blogs for CIH.
It was great for Genesis to be able to present to the Korean Housing Institute via the CIH South East international group. The institute gave us an interesting 'shopping list' for discussion, and so my colleagues and I talked over the history of mass housing in the UK, current trends, our government's current thoughts, as well as the challenges of current housing management, and how the UK manages health and safety.
I confess, I hadn't spent much time researching Korean housing. After all, it was all private rented or outright sale, wasn't it?
It turned out I was wrong. South Korea began supplying public housing relatively late considering its economic development and severe housing shortage - but since 1990, the Korean government has rapidly expanded public housing to approximately five per cent of households. Moreover, each of Korea’s political parties is in competition to supply as many public housing units as possible.
The government has set the goal of expanding public housing to 12 per cent of all households by 2018. There are also some fairly interventionist measures being carried out which are basically aimed at levelling out the vastly inflated rents of the private rental market, whose deposits traditionally required two years rent up front.
Back at CIH we shared our own experiences and knowledge and bowled our guests over with charts, diagrams and facts - I was particularly pleased with my 'challenges for modern housing management' presentation.
The time came for questions and answers. Professor Ha took off his spectacles and looked me straight in the eye.
"How have you solved the problem of noise transference between neighbours' flats?" he asked. I looked at my list on the PowerPoint and smiled. It's a small world, after all.