As many of us strive towards cooperative models of regeneration, it seems a sensible time to challenge a number of delivery conventions, most notably that regeneration cannot be delivered (and I mean really delivered) by empowered, informed and energised community groups by way of Community-Led Housing (CLH).
In the context of large-scale urban regeneration, particularly estate-based, this seems a pertinent question. Undoubtedly the complexity of politics and process, as well as delivery and funding structures on these projects means that the challenge is too broad for any given community at this time. But is CLH an obvious vehicle by which community groups can come together with purpose and focus, to take a genuine stake in delivering regeneration alongside public and (in many cases) private sector?
Stakeholder alignment is (almost) everything in regeneration. If managed right, and I don't underestimate the challenge, CLH can bring benefits to all in that it should create mutual alignment, commonality of interests and language, and clarity of purpose between relative strangers in the development process.
I attended a refreshing event yesterday - the excellent Future of London's "Foundations for Community-Led Housing" session focusing on land & planning. Whilst hugely informative, it's clear that there's some way to go before CLH is considered part of a more complex regeneration solution. I for one though want to explore the art of the possible...
Community groups, often with professional partners, are developing new approaches for large sites as well as smaller ones. Whether new-build, self-build or estate regeneration; and run as community land trust, co-housing or co-operative, Community Led Housing is owned and managed by residents and held to protect community benefits in perpetuity. The model can deliver genuinely affordable homes, but going beyond bricks and mortar, community-led schemes can strengthen local networks, promote well-being, deliver social value and cater to the aspirations of a growing number of older Londoners.