A new residential building in the South Bronx offers some valuable lessons for London and it's ever-worrisome housing crisis. London's housing challenges, particularly for the poor and marginalised, are well documented. Whilst these are worthy conversations, I believe that too much news is based on the sensationalism of expensive neighbourhoods and homes and less on highlighting solutions for building homes for the working class. I believe one approachable solution is being offered by homeless housing advocates, Breaking Ground, in a new housing development in the South Bronx, NYC. And perhaps most importantly, they've included space for social support services that are often in critical need for people stuck in the lowest socio-economic classes.
The Boston Road building, by Alexander Gorlin Architects, is a masterclass on the potential for building multi-story housing in inspiring materials, colours, and textures for working class residents. Gorlin's work shows us that quality need not be sacrificed in limited budgets.
This new building demonstrates that offering in-residence social support services can prevent recidivism and help destigmatise homelessness, the unemployed, or underemployed. London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, has highlighted plans that make strides in the effort to offer more affordable housing for London's working classes. But as is often the case, it will not be enough to help those at the lowest ends of the economic ladder. A new housing plan should emphasise that developers and architects incorporate social services space into their buildings, such as Gorlin's South Bronx work.
...the facility contains ample common areas for its full roster of social services. Among them are a resident nurse, a twelve-step program, nutritional and weight-loss guidance, career counselling, and discussion groups, all aimed at propelling residents into self-sufficient lives in the larger community.