Public Housing Redevelopment With Private Funding — London UK

large high rise apartment building standing vacant, waiting for demolition
Heygate, a Council housing estate in London, England that has been demolished in the last 10 years. Where do the tenants live now?

What happens when public housing projects become run down? For a while now, the dominant answer has been ‘redevelopment’. Tearing down old buildings and building new homes has proved a successful strategy to attract investment. London, England has been a popular location for redevelopment. More than 100 public housing properties have been redeveloped with private funds.

In the process, thousands of homes with low rents have been demolished. The private firms redeveloping the sites are expected to replace some of the low rent units. The funding mechanism is cross-subsidy, where some of the proceeds from selling new units are to be used to pay for the construction of homes with low rents. In reality, excuses move to the forefront, requiring initial plans to be scaled back and the initial low rent construction promises come to nothing1. An article discussing the effects of cross-subsidy funding in London was published 2016 in City: London’s housing crisis and its activisms

More recently, one of the authors of the article in City offers some hints that in London, the times may be changing. Read more in dezeen: “The tide may finally be turning against knocking down social-housing estates”


  1. Viability assessments are the legal means to activate excuses. They undermine councils that are trying to ensure a reasonable supply of deeply affordable housing and are devastating for people with very low incomes. Viability assessments are also confidential. Try: UK Affordable Housing Viability Assessments: Can Developers Abuse The Privilege?