Town Flats central London
Rebecca Wayman

Can't afford to live in central London? Think again with this new development

Compact living developments have been estimated to bring an additional £200m of income and over just 1,000 new jobs to Central London, a new report has found.

The study, from Development Economics, found that compact living could reinvigorate several communities in Zone 1 by enabling a mixture of young workers to live centrally.

These town flats would be housed in buildings with various communal and co-working facilities, and for rental only. Due to their smaller size, they could be built within Zone 1 and still be affordable for those paying the London Living Rent.

U+I’s deputy chief executive, Richard Upton, who welcomed the report, commented: “For too long and for too many people London has been hollowing itself out - diluting the rich blend which has made it the global capital.

“The centre is now only affordable to either the very wealthy, or those living in what social housing remains. For a new generation of workers in the middle, often working centrally, living in the middle of London has long been a dream.

“People increasingly want to live, work and play in the same place and we want to develop something that not only re-fills [this] but brings communities back to life and delivers real social and economic benefits.”

The return of young working adults to central London has been highlighted with this concept, with one key trend that fits in with the compact living approach: people’s increasing desire to have fewer things and therefore to take up less space.

Author of Stuffocation, James Wallman, who was behind the inspiration for the town flats, describes it as a shift from materialism to experientialism: “Instead of looking for happiness and status in material goods, we are finding them in experience instead.

He continued: “We can now have all the benefits of access without the hassle of owning it. Spotify, for example, means you no longer need a roomful of CDs. Having a Kindle means that all your books will now fit into one small device.”

Wallman says that the capital’s housing is tough on one particular group - those that are hard-working, middle income-earning and single: “Since many chose the outer London option, this causes them to live more isolated lives.”

U+I has built two of its proposed Town Flats at its offices in Victoria and modelled the compact living developments on existing central London sites.

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