Multi-generational Housing – addressing the housing crisis and changing cultures
Judd defines multi-generational housing as being “households have two or more adult generations of a family occupying the same dwelling” in Housing Design for Multigenerational Living (Judd, 2016). CBRE report over 1.8 million households consist of 2 or more generations (CBRE, 2022). There are 3 elements contributing to its popularity;
- Unaffordable housing
- Aging population, pensions cuts, and a lack of retirement housing
- Unaffordable childcare
Types of multi-generational housing
Multi-generational housing can be simple. It could be a main house, a separate annex, and a shared courtyard/garden. Alternatively, a regular house that has been converted to contain a studio apartment. Homeshare is a government-backed scheme that provides housing for 2 unrelated households, typically an older person moving in with a family or individual due to needing a small level of assistance . There are 22 active Homeshare schemes across the UK (CBRE, 2022). Another example is cohousing, see my previous blog post here.
Phoenix Community Housing, Beckenham
This scheme by Levitt-Bernstein provides a range of accommodation for over 55s and includes 2 flats for postgraduates from the University of London. It has established an affordable scheme in which, students living in the shared flats receive reduced rental costs with the understanding they provide the wider community a service.
The future of housing?
Multi-generational living is considered common practice in many countries and is often understood as a culturally specific household arrangement (Burgess, 2019). Hamilton et al suggest that the UK housing market can facilitate multi-generational living, with its popularity increasing whether this is through choice or pragmatism (Hamilton, n.d.).
University College London found that increased social contact between 50 to 70 is linked with a reduced risk of developing dementia (Branson, 2020). Furthermore, research has suggested that if children socialise with older persons, it can show improvements in language development and social skills (Branson, 2020). Moreover, multi-generational housing can help tackle loneliness, provide affordable childcare and help young adults save to take their first steps onto the property ladder.
A key element of contention with multi-generational housing is privacy (Hamilton, n.d.). Hamilton et al found that people want to be able to live independently but not too separately. For this to work, shared spaces are needed to facilitate interaction whilst also maintaining residents own defensible private space (Hamilton, n.d).
- Lord, J. (2019) Marmalade Lane. [Online Image] Available at: https://search.openverse.engineering/image/fa655778-20cc-4aea-abe8-51f54b80a1a9 (Accessed on 06/04/22)
- Diamond Geezer (2015) Chobham Manor. [Online Image] Available at: https://search.openverse.engineering/image/74a6f1dc-d895-48d7-b41e-e3a09d40e7cb (Accessed on 07/04/22)
- CBRE (2022) Multi-generational Housing. [online] Available at: https://www.cbre.co.uk/research-and-reports/our-cities/multi-generational-housing Accessed on 27/03/22)
- Branson, A (2020) Is multi-generational living the future of housing? [online] Available at: https://ww3.rics.org/uk/en/modus/built-environment/homes-and-communities/all-together-now–mult-igenerational-living.html (Accessed on 27/03/22)
- Gardner, G., & Nasserjah, A. (2020). The Future of Multigenerational Housing in Existing Communities: Insights for Transatlantic Cities. Cityscape, 22(1), 249–272. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26915496
- Berrington, A., Stone, J., and Falkingham, J. (2009) The changing living arrangements of young adults in the UK. Population Trends, 138 : 27-36
- Easthope et al. (2015) Feeling at home in a multigenerational household: the importance of control. Housing, Theory and Society, 32(2): 151-170
- Judd, B (2016) Housing Design for Multigenerational Living. Routledge. 1st London.
- Gemma Burgess & Kathryn Muir(2020) The Increase in Multigenerational Households in the UK: The Motivations for and Experiences of Multigenerational Living, Housing, Theory and Society, 37:3, 322-338, DOI: 1080/14036096.2019.1653360
- Hamilton, C et al. (n.d.) Multigenerational living: an opportunity for UK house builders? [online] Available at: https://www.cchpr.landecon.cam.ac.uk/system/files/documents/multigenerational_living_final_report.pdf (Accessed on 29/03/22)