DWELL is a virtual or face-to-face workshop like no other about the future of housing, workplaces and cities. Along the way we’ll explore re-building society, considering employability, supporting young people and increasing equality in early careers.
Why will we be doing this? For the past few years, business has been changing, the internet has changed commerce, house prices have changed cities, workplaces have changed and contracts have become weaker and favour the employer more often than the employee.
NEWSFLASH, BBC Business News 27 April 2021: City of London to convert offices to dwellings to re-invent the city post-Covid.
Since the world has been changed through the COVID-19 pandemic and many office-based and retail, entertainment and hospitality workplaces have remained closed or on skeleton staff there has been a revolution in how we work – working from home, flexibly, balancing caring responsibilities with employment, travelling less, using technology more and public transport (as well as cars) less. This has changed companies in many ways.
- 2/3rds of employees want to work from home and 36% of employees would take the ability to work from home over a pay rise.1
- Nearly six out of ten employers save significant sums through having a home-based workforce.
- The average company saves $10,000 per year per employee who works from home.1
- Two-thirds of employers say employees are more productive when working from home and organisations such as BT found that employees are 35-40% more productive.1
According to the above research it would seem sensible to make sure people were furnished with the equipment and infrastructure (laptops, mobile phones, superfast broadband) to enable them to work from home wouldn’t it?
Also in the UK, we have a housing crisis, lack of social housing, unaffordable rents, absentee landlords buying properties off plan as an investment means that many city centres are empty but still growing in value…while people can’t afford rents and the average house in the UK takes a year’s salary to put down a deposit on to purchase…so a generation is unable to get on the ‘property ladder’ because rental costs preclude savings.
So what’s the solution?
“You cannot solve problems with the same kind of thinking we used when we created them” Albert Einstein.
The UK has a housing crisis. Young people are living with their parents and guardians until they are in their mid-twenties and into their thirties.
Massive deposits are now demanded by mortgage companies and landlords are able to charge huge rents and deposits for ever-smaller properties.
Homelessness is higher than ever and no ‘affordable’ social housing has been built by the Government in the past years despite promising 200,000 new homes a year.
Recent investigations have found that office blocks are – through Permitted Development Rights loopholes – being turned into high-rise containment units for families with some ‘homes’ being created in a 13m2footprint to house a family. This is a cube with a floor area of 3.6 metre x 3.6 metre. THIS IS NOT RIGHT.
So what should be done instead?
We’ve designed the DWELL concept to allow students to explore some of the issues that have created the housing crisis, the disproportionate level of office building and retail closures and what solutions could be developed to help solve homelessness and create some affordability in housing as well as building multi-space communities.
DWELL Stands for:
…and allows your students to envisage their future independence as part of a supportive community which supports and celebrates diversity.
The workshop works brilliantly as a half day session which includes some of the most powerful statistics and research into housing, environment, employability and society which engages student notions of fairness and equity and our materials lead teams to create their own DWELL Centre complete with business units, wellbeing centre, learning zones, social enterprise solutions and environmentally-friendly solutions to the problems in modern town and city-centres.
Please see the attached pictures for examples of work – including a centre called Fair Fields with low rents, free childcare and workplaces offering work experience and training and qualification opportunities.
You’ve got two options:
- If you’d like more information on the workshop and availability, please get in touch, OR
2. Ask about the workshop materials as a downloadable set of PDF documents you can use face to face or virtually (hosted by your staff or ours!).
Put simply, it’s a big, expensive and daunting world out there for young people, we need to let them think about what kind of world they want to live in – whether they aspire to be architects, planners, project managers, social workers, housing officers or sociologists.
DWELL could be the future – let’s get their input into it.