Week 3// 7/10 - 13/10

We're a quarter of the way through the semester already, we hope everyone has settled into their routines here in the studio! It's been a hive of activity recently, which is so inspiring!

OSA had our first meeting of the year on Wednesday - we're always open for volunteers if you'd like to get involved! Our meetings happen fortnightly in either the DS2 or DS5 spaces.

Submissions for Issue XII:REBEL are open! We welcome written, drawn, photography and modelling submissions - so get creative and see where the REBEL in you takes you! Send submissions to osazine@gmail.com by 21/10/2019.

OSA Mini Review: Open House Oxford: We Love Social Housing! Talk (09/10/2019)

We Love Social Housing! was a pertinent discussion on the importance of social housing in today's housing crisis, exploring the issues that the housing crisis is posing for us.

Our speakers were Joe Beswick, from the community think-tank New Economics Foundation, and Lou Downe, Director of Transformation & Design for Homes England (possibly the longest job title ever). The floor was also opened up for comments and questions, creating a very open and engaging discussion covering a wide variety of topics, with diverse opinions from all walks of life.

The talk brought up many key points on Britain's current housing crisis: for example, we now have 1 million fewer council homes than we did 40 years ago, but we potentially have around 3.2 million households on the national waiting list for council housing (estimate from homelessness charity Shelter).

If it wasn't clear before, it is now: The housing market is broken. Houses aren't being built where we need them, when we need them, and they're not what we need. To keep up with demand, it has been proposed that Britain needs to build between 100,000 and 200,000 new social rented homes a year - last year the actual number of new social rented houses constructed was only 8,000. And building hundreds of thousands of homes a year won't solve the affordability crisis surrounding the housing market. One comment pointed out that targets get discussed, but reasons why these targets exist never do - we are given an arbitrary number of homes to be built, or budget costs of development projects, with no backing up to base these numbers on.

The planning system is failing, and the housing construction process is so bureaucratic that it has squeezed the life out of small housing development companies. So what can we do about it?

Housing England and the New Economics Foundation propose that now is the time to rethink this model. The housing system should provide for everyone, and should be seen as an asset, not a handout. So should we be thinking of housing as a service? Create a new NHS - the National Housing Service? Should we revive the concept of housing as community?

We may not have all the answers yet, but social housing is a topic that the architectural community and society as a whole cannot shy away from.

Open House Oxford is in its last few weeks of opening, with their closing party at 7pm on 29 October 2019 - if you can, check out what's on before they go! Open House is located at 36 Little Clarendon Street, OX1 2HU, and are online at http://openhouseoxford.co.uk/ .

Want your work featured on the blog? Or know someone whose work is worth celebrating? Simply send us an email at osazine@gmail.com with your submission! We look forward to hearing from you!

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