Reforming the HCA – Learning from International Success in Increasing Affordable House Building

Pangyo – a Second Generation New Town in Korea

What countries have broadly succeeded in removing the gap between supply and demand?

Ill give you three

  • Turkey
  • Korea
  • Singapore

What do all three have in common?

They have set up powerful national agencies to purchase land, drive procurement and undertake housebuilding.

By contrast is a funder and regulator which arguably in periods in the past had funding policies which drove up land prices.

In England we have a large independent HA sector which has many benefits but which has not had a primary political goal of building, and it has had to live through a period where various government policies discouraged it building such as HA RTB.

The lessons from the three agencies set up in Turkey, Korea and Singapore are:

  1. In undertaking very large scale land purchases they can drive land prices down and undertake projects at the new town scale.
  2. They can drive innovative methods of construction
  3. They can take advantage of economies of scale
  4. They can promote very high density housing across whole quarters and cities which only very large entities would be able to bear the risk of

Unfortunately they have also suffered in design terms from mass production , as can be seen in the monotony of product in these three countries (less so in Korea where the second generation new towns has some of the best housing in the world.)

A good model which I would like to see in the Housing White paper is for a beefed up HCA (Stripped of its regulatory role to avoid conflicts of interest) taking on the kind of role that its predecessor body the Commission for New Towns did.  It would but land and lead procurement, promoting modern proactive such as modular construction and form based zoning, but would not directly design and operate housing, this being devolved to local development corporations formed as partnerships between housing associations, landowners and local authorities – ensuring land value capture for infrastructure and social facilities.

Other countries are looking at the example of these three countries, 29 countries internationally are partnering with Turkey for example on modern methods of contruction.  The Koreans are building the New Towns for Kuwait.

Bundang a first Gen New Town Korea

Bundang a first Gen New Town Korea

Dongtan Korea

Dongtan Korea


One thought on “Reforming the HCA – Learning from International Success in Increasing Affordable House Building

  1. Reblogged this on Roger Gambba-Jones and commented:
    We are of course see these self same tower blocks being razed to the ground in the uk, because we do not have the will or the resources to properly manage the social behaviours of those who are required to live in them. I wouldn’t however put it past the politicians of today to make the same mistake of their predecessors, as they will always look for headline grabbing short term solutions that only generate problems for those that take their place – and so shall it ever be it seems – or will it? I wonder?
    We are moving towards, potentially, maybe, possibly, eventually, at some point, a post EU future in the UK, or is it just England, who knows? Globally, president elect Trump, is about to disrupt the financial markets again, maybe, who knows, certainly not any of the pundits, or experts it seems. All these financial whiz kids, seem about as clueless as the pollsters these days, when it come to predicting the outcome of anything other than a one horse race.

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