13 Jan 2021
It is clear that the UK is facing major challenges at the moment. As well as the severe and pressing issue of COVID-19, we continue to face a housing crisis, a climate and ecological emergency and a construction skills shortage. To find solutions to these problems, we need to view them holistically and tackle them collaboratively. This is the only way to effective and lasting change.
At the Bristol Housing Festival, we see in these challenges an opportunity to do things differently; to prioritise meeting the needs of residents and working towards a sustainable future. We believe the key lies in working with others and thinking about the long-term picture. For example, this means thinking about the sustainability of the houses that are being built to meet the current need, the affordability, and the unique requirements of those who will live there.
Since our launch in 2018, our focus has been on the unique opportunity that modern methods of construction (MMC) provides in light of this picture. While MMC is not a silver bullet, it does provide opportunities for innovation, and as the industry in the UK matures, it will enable us to rethink some of the fundamentals and make sustainability high value within the industry.
However, this cannot be done in isolation. Just because houses are built to meet zero carbon requirements, to really think holistically, the development needs to consider the local ecology, the local industrial strategy, the operating costs of the home as well as how easy it is to use, and how the development is designed to facilitate healthy and resilient communities.
The Bristol Housing Festival operates in three main ways. Firstly, we enable projects across Bristol and the West of England working with MMC bringing together various stakeholders and supporting ambitions of these multiple stakeholders. Secondly, we evaluate the work we’re involved in, gathering the lessons learnt from innovative projects and making them available to the industry to enable collective learning. Thirdly, we tell the positive stories and host conversations about housing and homes in Bristol and across the nation to promote good news and show what is possible when people come together to solve big problems.
Jessie Wilde is deputy project director at Bristol Housing Festival.