1st Edition

Housing for Hope and Wellbeing

By Flora Samuel Copyright 2023
    232 Pages 47 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 47 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Housing and neighbourhoods have an important contribution to make to our wellbeing and our sense of our place in the world. This book, written for a lay audience (with policy makers firmly in mind) offers a useful and intelligible overview of our housing system and why it is in ‘crisis’ while acting as an important reminder of how housing contributes to social value, defined as community, health, self development and identity. It argues for a holistic digital map-based planning system that allows for the sensitive balancing of the triple bottom line of sustainability: social, environmental and economic value. It sets out a vision of what our housing system could look like if we really put the wellbeing of people and planet first, as well as a route map on how to get there.

    Written primarily from the point of view of an architect, the account weaves across industry, practice and academia cross cutting disciplines to provide an integrated view of the field. The book focusses on the UK housing scene but draws on and provides lessons for housing cultures across the globe. Illustrated throughout with case studies, this is the go-to book for anyone who wants to look at housing in a holistic way.


    PART I: The problem

    1. Hopeless housing

    2. Who builds housing and how?

    3. Housing knowledge

    PART II: The impact of housing and neighbourhoods on hope and wellbeing

    4. Measuring wellbeing and social value

    5. Connectivity

    6. Physical health

    7. Self actualisation

    8. Identity and belonging

    PART III How to build a housing system for hope and wellbeing

    9. A planning system for hope and wellbeing

    10. Policy for hope and wellbeing in housing and neighbourhoods

    11.Rethinking local authorities around 20-minute communities

    12. Professional knowledge and skills for building hope and wellbeing into housing and neighbourhoods

    13. Common knowledge

    14. Housing and neighbourhoods for hope and wellbeing



    Flora Samuel is Professor of Architecture at the University of Cambridge. She helped set up the new School of Architecture at the University of Reading and is former Head of the University of Sheffield of the University of Sheffield School of Architecture and the first RIBA Vice President for Research. The author of Why Architects Matter (2018) she has spent the last decade researching the positive impact of good design on people. Her interests are now moving to land use and social justice, both key to addressing climate change. She is well known as industry advisor on the social value of the design of housing and places and a strong advocate of social value mapping. She is also known for her unorthodox writings on Le Corbusier, about whom she has published extensively. A mother of three daughters, she is based in Wales.

    "This is a wonderful book, as wise and generous as it is hopeful. It offers a fluent and compendious discussion of housing in all its complexity that inspires us to think more about how we live and how we build, and then to act better."

    Peter King, author of The Principles of Housing (Routledge, 2016)

    "Flora Samuel’s book – or manifesto – is both timely and essential reading in a political climate where dismay and quiet desperation is widespread. Samuel expresses the burning injustices in the UK's housing and explores its quality (or lack of) but also its delivery, ownership structures, and its binary model of adding value that is exclusively measured in terms of its financial benefits to private developers and landlords. Her sense of outrage that our housing is so poor is palpable and Samuel argues passionately for a different model of a housing system where value is measured in terms of health, happiness and wellbeing and a connection with the natural world. Samuel demonstrates what practical and political steps need be taken to achieve these alternative aims, covering policy, regulation, planning and also community empowerment via locally initiated models of development, concluding with a vision of a better world expressed via a truly democratic housing system might look like for the UK."

    Dr Piers Taylor, Architect, Invisible Studio

    "There are few people as well-placed as Flora to talk on this subject. She does so with passion, rigour and empathy, creating one of the most comprehensive books I have read on how our built environment affects our health and wellbeing. Each chapter carefully unpicks a wide range of issues and offers solutions through well-researched, tangible examples."

    Professor Sadie Morgan OBE, dRMM Architects