Our challenge is to build two million more homes in the UK, over and above the current annual targets. The problem is finding suitable locations in terms of building land, especially as in our cities, land is at a premium. A number of studies have looked at possible locations for extra homes, including infill, brownfield, moorings and of course high-rise. However, there is a resource that is highly under-utilised, namely our car parks, especially retail ones. These used to be crammed at the weekend and shopping areas were no-go areas, to prevent traffic delays, but our habits have changed and for many retailers, 50% of their sales are now online. At the BRE Innovation Park in Watford, in collaboration with Bill Dunster’s ZedFactory, we have built a demonstrator for building over these parking spaces, so that the amenity is not lost, but an apartment can be built above the spaces, with its own power generation. The Zedpod is a unit that is built off-site, in pop up factories, requiring a fork lift to assemble it, and it can be relocated if the site use changes. It requires no foundations and a minimal grid connection, so no costly substation needed.
Other car parks that may be suitable include park and rides, hospital car parks providing keyworker accommodation, hotels, universities and colleges.
- Learn about an innovative solution to the housing shortage;
- One hour CPD;
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