Creative Brief: How can housing help Derby thrive?


To explore the potential for creating the homes we need in Derby, for the world we live in now.

Insight Areas – Themes developed from the dialogue

Changing Perceptions:

Housing cycle for core team briefing
We questioned the usefulness of “an Englishman’s home is his castle”, home ownership is not necessarily equated to happiness, quality of living is as important as numbers, it is well-being not money. The current system where both young people and older people find it difficult to find the homes they need is not serving us well. We need to broaden housing options and rethink our attitude to rental.

Learning what happens in Derby, UK, Europe and beyond

The ‘six streets’ project in Derby shows what people can do and there are many other projects we can learn from. How are other people innovating in housing in the UK and Europe? In particular, what can we learn about the rental sector in Europe?  How can renting encourage, as opposed to discourage community, setting up a virtuous cycle by changing perceptions?

Building a Community

Whilst we all need to take personal responsibility for building a community, the way we live either nurtures it or diminishes it. Communal spaces, both internal and external, nurture connection;  co-housing allows different generations to live together; communities can decide what should be owned, co-owned or shared.

Improving the Market

In a world of short-termism, we need to encourage thinking that looks at least 5 or 10 years ahead.  The current market has evolved to meet past needs rather than looking to the future.  Renters, landlords, first time buyers, and down-sizers, are not well served.  What can be done to improve the way the market works, so as to better meet the needs of the future?

Innovation in Planning and Finance

Our current systems of planning and financing tend to discourage innovation.  We need to find ways to work with funders and planners that support the innovation to provide the housing that we need for the lives we lead now.

Could we have ‘housing enterprise zones’ (akin to the Government’s introduction of business enterprise zones) so that new ideas can be encouraged and tested?

For Derby to thrive, we need housing in the city where we live and work. This housing needs to be affordable and cater for all sections of society – families and older people as well as young people.

Our city needs to be attractive, well-maintained and safe.  Are there opportunities for homes in Derby’s beautiful old buildings, making use of empty spaces, and perhaps creating more adaptable spaces – “living over the shop”?

What else?

Lunar21 events often spark conversations that continue for days after the event, and we know this happened after 11 April.  Because of this, there may well have been ideas generated that have not been listed above, ideas which need further exploration.

The following diagram summarises the above, and hopefully shows where new ideas could be added.