UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Rise Up: The case for, and benefits of, providing homes for key urban workers on London's rooftops


Skyroom is an award-winning urban development company founded by the Institute for Global Prosperity's (IGP) Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Arthur Kay. It provides high-quality, eco-friendly homes. These are let to key urban workers (police, fire, nurses, doctors and teachers) at a significantly reduced price. The aim of the company is to enhance the social and cultural prosperity of the city, by housing the people that make it run well in an efficient and innovative way.

The homes are prefabricated. They are installed on rooftops that have been modified to allow utility connection and access. Green roofs are also installed, providing insulation and amenity space for the houses' inhabitants and the rest of the block. 

Building on rooftops protects the Green Belt and reduces the negative effects of commuting. Centring homes in the city increases the council tax, New Homes Bonus, and Community Infrastructure Levy receipts of local councils, and improves the quality of key public services for all, by housing the people that staff them safely, securely, and in a comfortable and environmentally sustainable way. They pay a significantly reduced rent, meaning they are happier and more able to enjoy their leisure time. 

The IGP is committed to supporting and influencing public debate around new ideas, sustainable investment in social infrastructure, and public policy aimed at improving the quality of people's lives. We are launching this white paper with Skyroom as we are searching for innovative solutions to future-proof our cities. We try to combine academic research with a multi-disciplinary approach in order to create solutions that benefit the whole of society. We are delighted to have published this project and are looking forward to seeing what the company can achieve in the coming months.

To read the paper, and find out more about our research, please visit riseup.skyroom.london or ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/igp/.