Socially Rented Homes And A Green Recovery

green recovery demonstration
Recovery for People and Planet Campaign 14 photo by Friends of the Earth Scotland is licensed under CC BY 2.0
A Green Recovery demonstration, June 2020.

Public housing in Scotland is leading the way to a green recovery, at least according to two people who work at Shepperd and Wedderburn, a UK law firm. Andrew Hall and Rachel Munro note that most socially rented homes have already met their obligations for 2020 and new goals have been set for 2032 to continue these efforts.1

It is also encouraging to see that socially rented homes are included as part of a comprehensive plan for a green recovery, rather than as a separate initiative. A look at Canada’s social housing programs sheds light on the potential benefit of being part of a comprehensive strategy.

Social housing in Canada fared well when it was included as part of the country’s building program in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. The vast majority of Canada’s social housing stock was built in those years. More recently, the social housing has been built to respond to specific needs, including people who are homeless as well as housing in indigenous communities. These programs are helping, although the total number of units that are built are far below what is needed. Reflecting on the experience of the 1960’s through 80’s, more social housing might have be built today if it is framed as part of a larger construction program.

Based on the Canadian experience, Scotland’s Green Recovery program for social housing may enjoy more widespread support simply because it is included with initiatives that will lift up other sectors of the economy.

You can read more about ideas for Scotland’s green recovery at insider: How housing can build sustainable foundations for the green recovery


  1. reported an interesting pilot project that may contribute to the 2032 standards here: New Life For 100 Year Old Buildings?