PLACE/Ladywell is pioneering temporary accommodation developed by Lewisham Council, London, in partnership with the architecture company Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners. It uses off-site manufacturing processes to provide modular, mobile housing units, currently in use as temporary accommodation for 24 homeless families. There is a well-documented housing crisis in the UK and homelessness has been rising across the past decade, since the financial crash of 2008 and under the ongoing influence of austerity policies (Fitzpatrick, et al., 2018). London is currently experiencing an especially acute housing crisis defined by unaffordability in the private rental and sales market and a diminishing stock of social housing, for which waiting lists remain hugely oversubscribed . There is also a shortage of temporary accommodation, resulting in families being placed in accommodation far beyond their borough of origin (Watt & Minton, 2016). In Lewisham itself, there were over 9000 families in temporary accommodation in 2016 (Osborne & Norris, 2016). Working in this context, this report investigates the experiences of families living in PLACE/Ladywell. It questions the difference the development has and can make to their lives. While PLACE/Ladywell has been widely acclaimed in the media and awarded multiple prizes, including the Mayor’s Prize and the Temporary Building category prize at the New London Architecture awards (2016), there has been a lack of attention to what it is like to live in for residents. This report responds to that gap, drawing on in-depth interviews with residents conducted between April-September 2017. Our research explores routes to homelessness, experiences of temporary accommodation prior to being housed in PLACE/Ladywell, residents’ initial reactions to PLACE/Ladywell the positive, negative and ambivalent aspects of life in the building and the impact it has on residents’ sense of security as well as the impact it might have on their lives going forward. Based on these findings the report draws conclusions regarding the potential of modular mobile temporary accommodation and makes recommendations to inform future developments.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherRoyal Holloway
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019

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