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© 2014 by Natasha Reid Design. All rights reserved. |


Joined-up thinking: Collaboration and conversation

Can architects and developers help to resolve the shortage through strategic design? What are the implications of the housing shortage for architects?

We had some big topics to discuss and a particular area of interest for me is about how different parts of the industry could work more closely together, since it is clear that the design of housing alone can’t solve housing crisis - it is a crisis of affordability, rather than simply about supply and numbers.

I believe we need a space for cross-sector dialogue to enable the design of new industry models, not just design of new housing.

What if we defined design to include the design of policy, frameworks and delivery models that are developed in a reciprocal way with the design of physical outcomes?

Can there be an expanded role for the architectural profession where we are not at the end of the chain as service providers and therefore constrained by existing frameworks, but could we be involved in pro-actively shaping these at the start instead?

I think we need a space for discussions between a wide range of actors, not only architects and developers, (although this would be a good starting point!) but also planners, policy-makers, academics, economists and all players in the built environment.


Could we have an interface between areas to enable joined-up thinking across professional silos? What if architects could apply design-thinking more widely to spatial and non-spatial challenges as a way to unlock change? I believe that the architectural profession could make more meaningful impact if we can find the space for this to happen.


Interestingly, there is a new initiative which is looking to create greater dialogue between architects and developers – The Young Architects and Developer Alliance (YADA).

''YADA is quite simply about getting young architects and developers talking to each other, and crucially understanding each other better. We’ve all had those frustrating days at work when it’s almost as if you’re talking different languages. What often results is a project with a compromised design, delivered by a demotivated team"

This looks like an exciting first step towards greater understanding and cohesive action across the industry – I look forwards to attending the opening event this month.

An article by YADA founder Martyn Evans:

If we're to build good places, architects and developers need to learn to trust each other


Natasha participated in a panel discussion at the London Build conference on the housing shortage and effects on building design alongside architects Sarah Wigglesworth (SWA), Alex Ely (Mae) and Andre Kikowski (AKA), chaired by Brian Waters (president ACA).

The panel covered a wide range of insights, from higher densities, challenging or upholding space-standards, innovations in housing typologies, housing for older generations, affordability, pre-fabrication, place-making and sense of community and finally building outside of London.