Standard: London’s housing issues are really driven by taste

So why does London not have more beautiful Islington squares? Partly it is to do with architectural, artistic fashion; in 1987 a young psychologist called David Halpern asked students to rate buildings by attractiveness. Almost everyone had similar tastes, except the architecture students, whose favourite was everyone else’s least favourite and vice-versa.

In its report, Create Streets recalls the director of housing and regeneration at one London borough speaking of the “horrid Edwardian streets that most of us live in” and complaining of “dreary terraces”. Imagine, living in an Edwardian London street — the horror! However, the bigger problem is that, thanks to planning regulations, no one can build the most desired type of building any more.

Create Streets cited one of London’s most prestigious buildings, dating from 1825, which fails today’s rules on at least 13 points. It will get worse, with proposed changes afoot to increase the number of regulations, while current Mayor Boris Johnson has said he can do nothing about it. Can Sadiq, Zac or indeed Prince John do any better?

Read it all there 

Thanks to Dan Jackson for the French war anecdote.

My previous Standard articles can be found here