Slouching towards dystopia in London
The housing crisis in the capital: Part One
‘In a dystopian London, the gap between rich and poor has been stretched to its limits.’
So runs the tagline of a new drama on Netflix airing this week. In this nightmarish future, London’s social housing has been abolished, leaving the city’s underclass struggling to survive in a last hold-out called the Kitchen.
The show is timely, although perhaps not in the way intended, as the issue of social housing in London grows in salience. The capital has a housing crisis of extreme proportions, a problem that is at once both insurmountable and at the same time childishly simple; housing costs, whether to buy or rent, reflect supply and demand, and in Britain’s capital the former is not met by the latter.
There are 1.2 million people waiting for social housing across the UK, according to the charity Shelter, but in the capital the situation has become acute. Even for those with a roof over their heads, the downstream consequences of the housing crisis are enormous, whether it’s overcrowded homes, undesirable neighbourhoods or even smaller-than-desired family size.