UCL Urban Laboratory


Demolition or Refurbishment of Social Housing?

London tenants and residents facing demolition commissioned this report to review technical evidence for refurbishment v. demolition of social housing.

Tower block behind fence

27 October 2014

By Kate Crawford, Charlotte Johnson, Felicity Davies, Sunyoung Joo, and Sarah Bell

Demolition of homes is amongst the most contentious issues in urban regeneration. Just Space and the London Tenants Federation, groups which work with and represent London tenants and residents and engage with the GLA's London planning process at the grassroots level, commissioned the Engineering Exchange and the UCL Urban Laboratory to review the technical evidence for demolition or refurbishment of social housing in London.

The review found that housing refurbishment is often better than demolition and reconstruction, when considering social, environmental and energy factors. Further, demolition decisions for buildings are often taken by professional experts and developers, without adequate engagement with local residents and communities. Good decision making in regeneration also requires thoughtful assessment of financial and technical information, within a context of meaningful engagement with residents and communities.

The EngEx developed a series of resources for understanding issues around demolition or refurbishment of social housing in London. Following feedback from our community partners and with further support from UCL's Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience and the EPSRC, the formal report was synthesised into a 'community toolkit', designed to help communities assess due diligence in decision-making around demolition v. refurbishment of social housing in London. Scroll down for factsheets, videos and a major report.