ADD2154 London Housing Expo Seed Funding

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
18 September 2017
Decision by: 
Jamie Ratcliff, Assistant Director, Housing

Executive summary

This decision requests approval of expenditure of up to £50,000 as seed funding for a ’London Housing Expo’ project, which will be delivered in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), New London Architecture (NLA) and the Design Museum. As set out in the Draft London Housing Strategy, the housing Expo is intended to demonstrate how to deliver high quality high density housing, encourage innovation and the best standards of design.

The GLA funding will support the development of a feasibility study to shape the project and the delivery of a Business Plan. This funding would be complimented through fund-raising and by resources in-kind provided by the participating housing Expo promoters. The Expo is expected to deliver an app in 2017/2018 – showcasing existing high quality high density housing, a competition in 2018 and an exhibition in 2019/2020.


That the Assistant Director of Programme, Policy and Services, Housing and Land approves expenditure of £50,000 for a seed funding to support the Housing Expo Project feasibility work and enable the delivery of a Business Plan. 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1 The development industry needs to meet the challenges of building homes in new ways, such as building sustainably at higher densities and with a mix of different uses. It is proposed that a new London Housing Expo can harness the creativity of the architectural and construction sectors by showcasing good design – including precision manufactured homes - across a range of development typologies.

1.2 The Housing Expo concept was established almost a century ago with the Weissenhof Seidlung in Stuttgart in 1927. Subsequently, the 1979 -1987 Internationale Bauausstellung, or IBA, in Berlin and Glasgow’s 1999 Year of Architecture have proved hugely popular and highly influential.  There are many other successful examples.  It is proposed that the London Housing Expo will build on their successful legacies.

1.3 The idea of a London Housing Expo first arose at a consultation event organised by New London Architecture in response to the Mayor’s consultation document, ‘A City for All Londoners’.  Since then, interest in, and support for the idea has grown considerably, and the concept of a housing Expo has been included the London Housing Strategy (Draft for public consultation, September 2017).

1.4 The intention is to demonstrate typologies that are needed to support an increase in housing delivery – such as high density residential, intensification of areas around town centres and tube and rail stations, and the co-location of different uses in such a way as to engage and excite a positive public reaction to the opportunity.

1.5 New London Architecture (NLA), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and The Design Museum are the participating Expo promoters who intend to engage other partners as necessary and form a delivery vehicle. Following initial discussions, a formal application has been made to the GLA for seed funding to kick-start the project.
1.6 The expo is intended to develop:
• An informative smartphone app as a means of public communication.
• A developer competition for the highest standards of innovation and design.
• A temporary exhibition aimed particularly to stimulate and excite the public as to the possibilities.
• One or more Expo sites with built examples for the public to visit, large enough to convey a sense of neighbourhood quality.
• Smaller sites throughout London to illustrate the opportunity for desirable infill and intensification in existing neighbourhoods.

1.7 It is proposed to base both the temporary exhibition, the main Expo site(s) and subsidiary satellite sites on land which is either in public ownership (GLA, TfL or Local Authority owned sites) or controlled by Registered Housing Providers with an interest in participating.

1.8 This decision is for a grant of £50,000 as seed funding to enable early feasibility work, Business Plan and to begin implementation. This funding would be complimented through fund-raising and by resources in-kind provided by the participating Expo promoters. The elected RIBA President is the chair of HTA Design LLP, and has offered office space and facilities pro-bono in the short to medium term.  HTA Design LLP will also manage the administration for the project spend, and therefore the GLA seed funding will be paid to HTA Design LLP.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1 The seed funding sponsorship will enable:
• Preparation of a feasibility study and business plan.
• Soft market testing of industry engagement and the fund-raising opportunity.
• Identification of sites, participating authorities and other organisations.
• Legal framework for structure of the delivery vehicle.
• A decision-making basis for the GLA leading to full participation with the housing Expo.

2.2 The primary target audience for the Expo is the public, with the intention of inspiring a positive reaction to high quality placemaking. The key drivers for the impression left on members of the public are:

• Pride - a sense that London is truly capable of delivering on the promise of ‘Good Growth’ and ‘Green Growth’ combined with new homes developed at high density.
• Excellence in placemaking and the very highest standards of design for homes, landscape and public realm.
• Excitement – building up to, and delivering the sense of occasion associated with major visitor attractions.
• Aspiration – setting the benchmark for future developments and ratcheting up the expectation of quality to a new normal.

Equality comments

3.1 Consistent with the objective of illustrating how high quality and innovative design can deliver on the promise of ‘A City for All Londoners’ the Housing Expo project will deploy a diverse Expo team and a programme of outreach seeking the participation of minority groups representing the full range of protected characteristics.  It is proposed that engagement techniques will include educational and creative activities designed to involve local communities and other stakeholders to with the Expo. Exercises in schools and community organisations using design and technologies will reveal the opportunity of cad-cam, 3D modelling, pre-fabrication, BIM, VR and other modern techniques.

Other considerations

4.1 There is a risk that the housing Expo does not garner the support it requires to proceed. To mitigate this risk, early stakeholder engagement has been undertaken in the form of stakeholder event and presentations. Reception of the concept and project has been positive to date.

4.2 It is not considered that any further impact assessment is required for this specific decision.

4.3 Officers in the Housing and Land Directorate have been consulted in the development of the project specifications and outputs.

Financial comments

5.1 This decision requests approval for revenue expenditure of up-to £50,000 to seed fund the Housing Expo Project, working collaboratively with the RIBA and NLA. The GLA funding will support early feasibility work and the implementation of a Business Plan to coordinate the programme and shape the project.

5.2 The expenditure is available from Housing and Land’s Management & Consultancy budget and will be fully expended in 2017/18 financial year.

Activity table



Completion of Feasibility Study and Business Plan

November 2017

Formation of the Housing Expo delivery organisation

Spring 2018

The Housing Expo Competition

Summer 2018

Temporary exhibition

Spring 2019

Expo visitor attractions developed on main Expo site(s) and on smaller satellite sites

Summer 2020

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