We are undertaking a piece of research funded by the RIBA which will provide further evidence-base for VeloCity – a strategic placemaking proposal which reimagines the future of existing villages via housing densification, new social infrastructure and car free communities.

If you know of a village in the UK or Europe with high density, car-free housing and/or a delivery approach to housing which positively contributes to the social, economic and health benefits of a rural community we would like to hear from you!

Please send us the name of the place/project, why you think this project is particularly interesting to look at, and a contact to a person who was involved – whether from the design team, the client, or a resident via this form.

What are the aims and objectives of our research?

Current village development is happening in an ad-hoc, low density pattern, leading to unplanned sprawl and a housing typology that is not affordable to most. As a result, villages have an ageing population and lack of services (shops, pubs, schools, etc), detracting families and young people to move into rural areas. People in villages are reliant on cars and have few options for downsizing within their existing community due to lack of diversity in housing offer. Villages are becoming increasingly isolated, leading to lack of employment, mental health and social issues.

VeloCity proposes a simple new housing strategy that makes a lot of sense, but one that may be politically difficult to persuade people to shift away from the car and build in villages that have long been preserved in aspic.

The aim of our research is to provide an evidence-based portfolio of existing rural housing densification models which highlight the benefits and key issues that local authorities, land owners, planners and design professionals need to be aware of.  These case studies will support and build on the VeloCity proposal, including:

  • Identification of successful housing typologies and engagement processes that led to successful village densification
  • Understanding of key social, economic and health benefits from densification of villages, as well as risk factors (and how they were mitigated)
  • Identification of barriers to housing development in villages and how these were overcome

We have spoken widely about our VeloCity vision to government, local authorities, communities and landowners and we know there is an appetite for change. Many villages are quintessentially picturesque but traditional community life is dying and up until now not much thinking or research has been spent on ways to deal with this.

In the current UK housing crisis this will be an original and significant piece of work which will help promote new sustainable housing models for rural settlements that people want to support.