Residential space standards and the retention of families in inner urban locations

In most member states of the European Union, housing development is undertaken within a framework of fixed internal space minimums. Basic rules govern factors such as the quantity of living space that must be provided.

There is one exception to this: England and Wales. Although there are a raft of rules affecting build quality, the floor space and ceiling heights of homes in England and Wales are not subject to any legal minimum. Instead, the ‘market’ determines what is built, or more specifically, standards are determined by what people are willing to buy.

In this work we reflect on the experience of England and Italy, to consider how the regulation of internal space sits with the operation of national housing markets and construction industries. The work examined barriers in England to the implementation of universal internal housing space standards, and the conditions under which regulation might become more acceptable.

Staff member: Alan Mace, with Nick Gallent, UCL, and Manuela Madeddu, Southbank

Project period: October 2008 – October 2009

Funding: RICS Education Trust

Related publications:

  • Gallent, N., Madeddu, M. & Mace, A. (2009) Internal housing space standards in Italy and England: comparing the ‘conditions’ of regulation, London: RICS
  • Gallent, N., Madeddu, M. & Mace, A. (forthcoming) ‘Internal housing space standards in Italy and England’, Progress in Planning

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