The case for city living

The case for city living The case for city living

In this blog, we frequently refer to the UK’s housing shortage and the pressing need to build more homes in London. But,  if space is at such a premium in the capital, why not build more homes in other cities and towns around the UK?

This might seem like a practical solution to the lack of building plots in the city, while at the same time helping to rebalance the UK’s London-centric focus. Surely moving people and jobs – as well as wealth and power – out of London to different parts of the UK is a good idea?

Before jumping to that conclusion, let’s look at the reasons London is so important to the UK, and why city life is something to be celebrated.

London’s success in figures

London has 12% of the UK’s population and is more than eight times larger than the UK’s next biggest city (which is Birmingham – sorry Manchester). London creates 22% of the country’s GDP and provides jobs for five million people.

It’s the seat of government and an international financial hub. London’s stock exchange handles trillions of pounds in transactions each year.

London also creates wealth through the 30 million tourists and visitors it attracts annually. The capital is an innovation and artistic hub, with start-ups and the arts contributing millions to the economy each year.

The housing picture in London

The UK has a housing problem, and it’s especially acute in the capital. London has the lowest level of home ownership in England, according to Levelling up, Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove. In a letter to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, he said:

“London’s average house prices remain the most expensive in the UK – an average of £537,000 in September 2023. The average price was over 12.5 times average earnings last year.

Across England, both major political parties estimate that 300,000 new homes need to be built each year to keep up with demand. In 2022-23, it’s estimated that 234,000 net new dwellings were added. (Source – Government fact sheet: The Need for Homes.)

New homes in London are socially and economically necessary. Airspace development can play a key part in easing the housing shortage by providing new space for homes, and specialist developers to build them.

Homes in the sky

Airspace development unlocks much-needed space to build new homes, using space above existing buildings that is lying unused.

It’s estimated that airspace development could unlock space for approximately 180,000 new homes across London. Research by property consultancy Knight Frank found that 41,000 new dwellings could be built on the rooftops within Zones 1 and 2 alone.

It’s clear that not every building is suitable for airspace development, and there are always challenges to adding to existing buildings which are already inhabited. But specialist airspace developers like Upspace are skilled and experienced at rooftop construction and managing projects with multiple stakeholders.

Benefits of city living

During the coronavirus pandemic, there was a much publicised exodus from cities, especially London. But since mid-2021, London’s population has been growing and city living space is as sought after as ever.

One of the most significant advantages of living in a city is the unparalleled convenience and accessibility it offers. Everything from shops and restaurants to public transport, entertainment and recreation is typically within walking distance or a short commute.

This accessibility not only saves city dwellers time but also reduces reliance on car ownership, contributing to sustainability.

City dwellers have numerous avenues to connect with like-minded individuals and foster meaningful relationships. London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, where over 300 languages are spoken.

London also offers an unmatched variety of cultural experiences, from art galleries and theaters to music venues and festivals,

Fuelling the UK’s economy

World cities like London are economic powerhouses, attracting businesses and professionals from various industries, and playing a key role in national wealth.

The UK’s economy has had a bumpy ride coming out of the pandemic, but latest figures show that the economy grew at the fastest rate for two years in the first quarter of 2024. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it means the economy has ‘turned a corner’, emerging from the recession it tipped into at the end of 2023.

London’s contribution to the UK’s growth is more vital than ever, to ensure these green shoots of recovery blossom more fully with time. London serves as a center for entrepreneurship and innovation, fostering a culture of collaboration and idea exchange.

It’s the ideal environment for economic growth and career advancement, especially for younger people. The concentration of companies, startups and job opportunities in London is what makes it such a desirable place to live, keeping up the demand for residential and commercial spaces.

By strategically designing developments that cater to the needs of urban professionals and workers, airspace developers can contribute to the economic vitality of the city.

Airspace developers’ perspective

As airspace developers, the focus is around creating smart and stylish solutions that optimise urban spaces. At Upspace, we build high-quality rooftop homes which are retained for the private rental market.

Because we have an ongoing interest in each airspace development, many of the issues that can occur if a rooftop development project is poorly executed (often in order to maximise short-term gains) simply will not arise.

We are award winning developers with an outstanding safety record and more ready-to-go projects than any other airspace developers in London.

At Upspace we liaise closely with existing residents throughout each project and work with specialist architects and approved contractors to deliver buildings that meet or exceed all the professional standards.

Work with Upspace

If you’d like to know more about the exciting opportunity of airspace development, and what it’s like working with us, please get in touch.

You can find the answer to many questions via our FAQs, and we would be happy to help you with any specific queries you might have.

Get in touch with us using the contact information below, and let us guide you towards the future of residential housing in London.


PO Box 1334