Urban design in the UK


The trendy cities we see and admire in the contemporary world are products of urban designing. Professionals in the field had to sit down and come up with the best plans to fit the needs of the people and their means of livelihood including the roads and the housing and other social amenities. A city or a town built without a plan is destined for failure and significant efforts need to be invested in the primary foundations of a successful city, which involves a well-formulated city design that addresses all the required characteristics.

What is urban design? How is it formulated? And what is its significance? Investigating these three fundamental questions provides a basis for understanding the whole concepts of this term. According to the (Urban Design Group, 2011), urban design refers to the process of shaping the physical planning for the life in the city. In simpler terms, it is the process of designing and shaping cities and urban centers. Unlike the architecture, which specializes in the development of individual buildings; urban design deals broadly with the larger area like a whole city, a large number of buildings, public spaces, housing, roads and the neighborhoods. Its goal is to make these quarters more functional, sustainable and attractive as well.

Many cities in the UK have been developed from a well constructed urban design blueprint. Cities like London required a careful approach. Dating back to its history over 2,000 years ago, the city had been marred by planning problems until the great fire in 1666 AD destroyed 60% of the city and led to the presentation of a new plan for the rebuilding. A great city must have well structured basic amenities. Roads, drainage system and above all proper housing are mandatory. In the urban design process, all these aspects must be incorporated into the functionality of the eventual actual city.

The Current State of Housing in the UK

The housing market holds a lot of significance to the economic growth of the nation. A drop in the performance in the housing sector results in the subsequent drop in economic performance of the nation. The housing sector is an important source of revenue for the government. Many cities within the nation were built with great consideration for the housing aspect. For instance, a city like London is a designed to accommodate a large number of residents, but it has had its fair share of problems that are financially-related.

The number of the UK households has been on the constant increase since 1996, which includes the privately owned houses, occupied houses, apartments and the privately rented as well as those rented by the local authority for accommodation and finally associations-managed properties. Generally, the significance of the housing market according to the (Economics Online, n.d.), in the UK plays two important roles. Firstly, the house is a representation of a household’s largest single acquisition and also represents the biggest single product of consumer wealth. Secondly, the changes in the prevailing housing prices can have a substantial effect on the entire economy of the country.

The UK’s housing market has come under several criticism and challenges. There are a lot of reasons to believe that the housing market of Britain is not doing as expected. This can be confirmed by (Elliott, 2017), who ascertains that the housing market in the country is not as functional as it used to be. There is massive tumbling of the home ownership and the total average age in which a person becomes the owner of the house has risen notably. Also, (Coppola, 2017) states that Britain’s housing index is slowing down with the countrywide August price index showing that the prices of the houses across the nation rising at a yearly rate of 2.1 per cent, which is down from the 2.9 percent witnessed in July 2017.

Many reasons can be attributed to these results. The Brexit effect is currently being felt in the UK. Its effects have hit almost every component of the economy and it is clear that the nation will struggle to come to terms with the aftermaths of the referendum. Investments in the housing sector have gone down; the number of foreign investors in the housing market is likely to drop due to new measures of doing business between the UK and the European Union block. The high prices have also been evident and the reduced demand means that the market is slipping into a dormant phase.

The Needs of the Housing Market in the UK

The recovery of any industry requires a proactive approach. Currently, the UK is in dire need to revive one of their critical industries that adds significantly to the economy. But despite the challenges, some specific areas have been exhibiting potential improvements. The needs of the UK housing market that can have a lasting impact on the sector lie in the policies and the prices. The government should come up with the clear guidelines to address the problems associated with prices and some instances of corruption that have marred the progress of the business. The combination of bloated prices and little wages has been stumbling block for the potential buyers of the new houses.

Therefore, the government should enhance reforms that would enable more people to buy houses and restore parity in the sector. (PricedOut, n.d.) believes that the ordinary people should be able to buy and own a home wherever the place they are in the country. There are a few ways that the authorities can use to mitigate the housing issue, through the use of policy reforms. Firstly, the government should strive to eradicate the house inflation. This can be achieved by ensuring there is no unnecessary rise in the prices of housing. This state of price stability will award a chance to the wages to finally match up the demands.

Secondly, the government should target adding over 250,000 more houses. The construction of supplementary residences will aid the people with lower wages who struggle to buy and own a house due to higher prices. This initiative can also be achieved when the government opts for supporting the smaller builders and the self-builders; allow the local authorities to take part in social housing by borrowing and building and finally, build the kind of houses that people want to own.

Thirdly, the housing market needs reforms in the property tax system. The apparent truth is that the majority of people who benefit from the rise in prices exploit so much those citizens who work for wages to pay their rents. One of the strict reforms in the taxation is the imposing of the penalizing rates on the empty houses. This interesting policy will make the owners who skyrocket the basic prices of the house to rethink twice.


The crisis in which the UK housing market has dipped into has largely been attributed to a number of factors. Brexit has played a significant part and so does the internal reforms. Bigger cities like London have been badly affected. The prospects of the London housing market have plummeted to a lowly 2.6 per cent in August as compared to a recent peak of 14.8 per cent recorded in the previous year (Selfin, 2017). The housing problem in the UK’s bigger towns may not be associated with the urban design or architectural flaws; rather, it is hugely connected to the economic performance. Events such as the Brexit have seen slowed interest from investors due to the inevitable change in rules and policies. This has, in turn, proved very tough for the ordinary citizens who struggle with their little wages to acquire the highly overpriced houses.


Coppola, F., 2017. The London housing bubble has finally burst. [Online] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/housing-market-property-london-south-east-burst-bubble-inflation-home-owner-a7918556.html [Accessed 13 December 2017].

Economics Online, n.d. The housing market. [Online] Available at: http://www.economicsonline.co.uk/Competitive_markets/The_housing_market.html [Accessed 13 December 2017].

Elliott, L., 2017. The UK housing market’s perfect storm, and five steps to avoid it. [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/oct/08/the-uk-housing-markets-perfect-storm-and-five-steps-to-avoid-it [Accessed 13 December 2017].

PricedOut, n.d. A housing market that works – the PricedOut Manifesto. [Online] Available at: http://www.pricedout.org.uk/manifesto [Accessed 13 December 2017].

Selfin, Y., 2017. Prospects for London housing market. [Online] Available at: https://home.kpmg.com/uk/en/home/insights/2017/11/prospects-for-london-housing-market.html [Accessed 13 December 2017].

Urban Design Group, 2011. Urban Design as a Career. [Online] Available at: http://www.udg.org.uk/careers [Accessed 13 Decemebr 2017].