Architects’ housing policy seeks to address future needs

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland has launched a housing policy which could help to deliver sustainable housing solutions as the country’s population grows to almost 6m over the next 30 years.

RIAI claims the existing model of delivering housing has failed. It says new models are required to ensure starter homes can become more affordable and make long-term rental accommodation become a more attractive proposition as an alternative to purchasing as well as providing for adequate social housing.

The body says there is a need for housing options that facilitate a “lifetime’s” choice of accommodation in a community from single home units to starter homes and from family homes through to accommodation for elderly people.

“This will radically improve social and cultural life, sustain schools, reduce commuting times and provide health benefits from greater levels of walking and cycling from local residents,” it said.

RIAI wants the planning system to be standardised across local authorities and An Bord Pleanála. It also wants a revision of the rental market to allow for a better mix between ownership and rental. The RIAI’s housing policy also seeks to address homelessness through a number of actions. In the short term it wants:

  • The establishment of a special taskforce accountable to the Dáil to deliver housing for 5,000 homeless people by 2017.
  • A national audit of ‘void’ accommodation space under local authority control with refurbishment and re-inhabiting scheme initiated immediately.
  • Active promotion of the ‘rent-a-room’ scheme to free up accommodation space to help increase supply.

In the medium term the RIAI wants the utilisation of Nama-controlled properties .

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