High Rise research project


A group of built environment professionals are in the process of producing a set of

essays on high rise, high density housing. The essays focus on issues relating to the

longevity of the new residential towers now making a significant change to many of

our city skylines. The essays are not about aesthetics of high rise housing but focus

on whether we are building a positive addition to our housing stock in the long term

and what steps we might take to ensure this is the case.


The steering group for the essays includes people with experience of designing,

developing and managing housing and understanding housing issues. They include

Kath Scanlon, a Distinguished Policy Fellow at the LSE; June Barnes and Dickon

Robinson, both experts on housing with long careers in the housing association

sector and three architectural practices: Allies & Morrison, Pollard Thomas Edwards

(PTE) and Levitt Bernstein.


The group’s initial focus has been on developing a case for detailed research into the

running costs of high rise housing, and the impact of these on service charges and

sinking funds for individual leaseholders. The research would include looking at how

the design and technical specification for constructing residential towers could

reduce running costs and lead to more sustainable buildings.  

As part of making the case for research in this area the group broadened the scope

of its work to include a collection of themed essays on the impacts of high rise

housing, as a way to promote further discussion on this issue. The proposed essays

should be of interest to:


  • Those living or thinking of living in high rise housing

  • Landlords including the growing number of private sector landlords involved in build to rent residential towers

  • Government at all levels

  • The construction and housebuilding industry

  • Planning and design professionals and students

  • Insurers and mortgage providers

The essays will address issues around long term management and maintenance

costs, the responsibilities of leaseholders and the potential costs of living in high rise

housing. They also look at existing research on how people enjoy living in high rise

housing and the impact high rise housing has on public open space. The essays

consider construction issues and the impact of new building safety legislation on

future construction of high rise housing, their sustainability including carbon take

during construction and in use.


It is anticipated that the essays will be completed in the Autumn and will be made

available on line.

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