Putting the Housing Numbers Game in Perspective

Sorry haven’t posted here in a couple of weeks busy on a new project outside England which will take most of my time for the next two years.

What I am up to at the moment puts things in perspective.  Am leading on a plan for a city of around 900,000 which ones knows precisely its population (no census,cancelled at last minute) – or even its rate of population and economic growth precisely – estimate ranges from 4%-9% annum.  So by the plan end point of 2040 you could be dealing with anywhere between 3.5 million or (unrealistically) 12 million population.  Rather puts the HBF 30+ page letters arguing housing need underestimated by 350 in perspective.  Am thinking rather than an end number you plan for doubling – and doubling again – and adjust the end date and rate of infrastructure according to variations in growth.  Interesting also how you estimate small base year population in absence of a census (which you have to do for traffic modelling) in absence of a census – a problem England will soon face, requires exotic statistical methods.  Also interesting is the volatility – wider metropolitan region housing market area suggests that new build vacancy levels are falling below 8% and that will see a ‘correction’ i.e. crash within 1`-2 years. Leads me to think whether you can use this as a metric in order to freeze consents on existing zoned land or automatically speed release of land when vacancy falls below or above certain metrics.  Im getting my economics consultant to look at this.

The UK way is not set in urban planning stone.  Planning can never be precise to within a few hundred units over 15+ years.  What matters is the direction of travel and ability to adjust.


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