Why have we started this conversation?
At Impact Hub Birmingham we believe that the people who make up communities need to be placed at the centre of designing the places they want to live, work and play in and not just seen as customers at the end.

How did this come about?
As a recent winner of the Geovation prize we are working with Land Registry and Ordnance Survey data in collaboration with Birmingham City Council to unlock underused land and turn it into open designed, sustainable, adaptable homes. Utilising the revolutionary WikiHouse system to bring the people who live in the houses into the building of those houses and turn them into homes. To help introduce a real movement towards enabling a new sector of house builders and realise the potential of #citizenbuild. Homes which are in areas people want to live in, which can be self built and can grow and change as their owner’s lives evolve. A platform to dramatically lower the barriers of custom build housing.

How can a new system evolve?
By approaching the housing crisis in a holistic manner there lies the opportunity to create a whole new system: from land identification and planning approval to home design and ultimate construction. Utilising existing statute powers through Community Land Trusts and the power of open data, open design and self construction we can create an innovative solution to the housing crisis.

But this is just the start and we know it’s not the whole solution. Whilst giving people the tools and opportunities to build their own communities we also need to give them the support, guidance and trust not currently afforded to self builders. And it’s not a debate between top down or bottom up approaches. Some of this new way of developing will have to come from a city level with strong city leadership and some of will grow from a community level as innovative ideas are grown and improved. Bet let’s start having the conversation to imagine what future we want to develop.

More about WikiHouse: