London faces the challenge of managing growth. It's population is projected to grow to 10.11 million by 2036.
Alongside changing demographics, technological advances mean London's town centres and high streets are undergoing significant restructuring that challenges their traditional role.
Faced by a rapidly growing population, we believe high streets could, and should, help meet some of this housing need, and present one potential source of accommodating this growth.
Enabling high quality, high density housing to help meet London’s acute housing need will also contribute to town centre vitality, footfall and expenditure.
We are going to use the long term structural changes affecting in London (these include changing demographics - a growing population, and its effect on rising land values), to create a sustainable business model.
We are going to purchase a site and carry out the development of a mixed-use building that combines affordable employment (co-working) space on the lower floors, with affordable residential (PRS) accommodation on the upper floors.
The C3 project:
- Is 100% business-led, and;
- Will create a new type of housing provider, that;
- Accesses new types of (social) finance, and;
- Establishes a self-financing replicable business model at scale, that;
- Intensifies growth at a town centre location, and;
- Operates on a not-for-profit business model, which means income generated is re-invested into the project to achieve social outcomes.
The demographic challenges and pressure on land values in London and Camden are not going to change anytime soon.
The biggest challenge the we face is acquiring properties to be able to carry out the project within. If we don't act now a continuing rise in land values in London will make the Collective and C3 project unfeasible in the future.
How does it work?
To pay for the development we are going to have to borrow money, like a typical mortgage.
The difference is that this money is going to be a social finance loan, rather than a mortgage. (Social finance is an approach to managing money which delivers a social dividend as well as an economic return). This means the lender is interested in realising employment benefits, as well as a financial return.
The residential accomodation on the upper floors will generate an income that subsidises the affordable employment and co-working space provided on the lower floors, as well as paying back the debt
- Enabling high quality, high density housing to help meet London’s acute housing need while also contributing to town centre vitality, footfall and expenditure
- Creating new employment space that improves the skills, employability and enterprise of SMEs
- Reinforcing the character and distinctiveness of Camden's town centre within London’s network
- Fostering a vibrant cultural offer which embeds Camden’s core attraction within its town centres as the heart of community life
- A sustainable, replicable and scalable business model that can be applied across London
Camden Town Unlimited is the most innovative business improvement district in the country and is well placed to start exercising a leadership role to enhance the speed, scale and quality of housing delivery in Camden Town.
Above: Image of the proposed mixed-use C3 development
'These projects proceed from a clear understanding that interventions based on one-time pop-ups and occasional participation will not transform high streets or the neighbourhoods they depend upon, and which in turn depend upon them.' – The Guardian