• 25 Mar 2022

RIAI Housing Statement 2022

The RIAI has launched a new Housing Statement in support of Housing for All – A New Housing Plan for Ireland. The report focuses on innovative architectural solutions to address the housing challenge and calls for “an Architect for every municipality who will be tasked with developing a vision statement for our villages, towns and cities to ensure we are planning our future with quality in mind.” 

The key challenge for Housing for All is that the most unsustainable form of housing delivery — building houses on greenfield sites — is also the cheapest to deliver, at the lowest risk. It is the least controversial; it is what people are accustomed to and what they expect.

However, while the delivery costs of suburban sprawl and “one-off” rural housing are lower, all other costs are higher. The ongoing cost to service suburban development is twice that of urban development, while new housing in existing neighbourhoods lowers the per capita costs to service.

Ultimately, the fiscal measures to support the delivery of the Housing for All policy need to provide social justice, and secure housing tenure for all sectors of society, creating vibrant, diverse communities. We need to be flexible and be prepared to radically change ways of doing things to make for an efficient and adaptable process; we need to plan to enable behavioural change. As Design Team Lead, the Architect is central to the design process, with the training, the skills and the talent to address these housing challenges.

We are calling on Government to measure the holistic costs of urban sprawl and incentivise sustainable housing accordingly, and we also need to measure the benefits of adapting existing buildings to preserve their cultural, societal and historical value.

The RIAI wants to see the running of architectural design competitions to provide innovative answers to practical issues and ensure that the public are engaged and can participate in design that impacts them.

In order to deliver innovative, sustainable solutions, we must address not only our housing crisis, but we must also play our part by collectively rising to the challenge of attending to the current climate emergency.