EFFECTS OF HIGH RISE

‘The literature suggests that high-rises are less satisfactory than other housing forms for most people, that they are not optimal for children, that social relations are more impersonal and helping behaviour is less than in other housing forms, that crime and fear of crime are greater, and that they may independently account for some suicides.’

Robert Gifford ‘The consequences of living in high rise buildings’

A large number of studies found that people living in high-rises suffer from greater mental health problems, higher fear of crime, fewer positive social interactions, and more difficulty with raising their children.

For example, on high-rise living and depression, Gifford writes:

More serious mental health problems have been related to building height. In an English study, mothers who lived in flats reported more depressive symptoms than those who lived in houses (Richman, 1974). Rates of mental illness rose with floor level in another English study (Goodman, 1974). Psychological symptoms were shown to be more often present in high rises (Hannay, 1979).

 

 

LIGHT

SKYGLOW : is the term used by planners to indicate the levels of brightness in the night sky in a built-up area, as a result of light pollution.

Hillary’s state “Lighting up the world carelessly leads to the waste of energy and money, along with significant costs to our quality of life. Our biology and ecology remain ill-equipped to handle night time brightness in extreme measures, and can suffer even in the presence of relatively small amounts. We encourage everyone, from property owners up to governments, to consider carefully the need for artificial light at night and to ensure that any light used is the proper amount, at the proper time, for only the task at hand. The need to light our activities can be balanced with preservation of the night through simple acts such as shielding light fixtures and lowering light intensities to appropriate levels.”

Dr. John Barentine from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) writes;

Intrusive Light is the intrusion of over bright or poorly directed lights onto neighbouring property, which affect the neighbours’ right to enjoy their own property. A typical example would be an inconsiderately directed security light shining into a bedroom window.

Poor Lighting ie inconsiderate or incorrectly set lighting can have other effects:

● It produces glare which occurs when the over brightness of a light source against a dark background interferes with a person’s ability to view an area or object, i.e. glare can conceal rather than reveal.

● It can detract from the architectural appearance of a building and even hide complex or attractive features.

● It can impact on the ecology and wildlife of an area, and affect the behavioural patterns of mammals, birds, insects and fish.

● The wasting of light is a waste of the energy which powers the light and is therefore a waste of resources and money.

Environmental-protection.org.uk

CASE STUDIES

SUSTAINABLE FEATURES

Salford Keys the buildings are situated at a medium distance from one another, thus loading the infrastructure regularly and helping avoid overcrowding from people and vehicles when in the same time intensifying the benefits from functions and services of the development by active use by the residents.

between the buildings is designed as a garden with plenty of grass and planting which act as immediate green oasis from the concrete and steel environment. Successful recreational spaces include areas for active, undisturbed, calm, social, imaginative, creative, experimental and natural play.

Leisure and culture have a positive impact on the residents’ lives, bringing additional tourism and adding to the area, making it an attractive place to visit and live within. Cultural facilities promote sustainability, diversity and identity. These facilities provoke civic conversations, as well as enhancing economic opportunities for the place and entertaining visitors.

The sizes of the plaza support the infrastructural capacity of the area so there is no overcrowding. The design of the plaza incorporates a wide variety of forms, colours, surface structures, sculptures, different seating, nooks, corners, trees, bushes, and changes in the level. Where there are areas which are unable to be used at times, due to weather conditions, extra café and meeting place facilities are provided.

 

ONTARIO 

Mid-rise buildings are more human-scaled in terms of size. They fit into the character of neighbourhoods and animate sidewalk culture, in particular by providing street-level retail. They can also offer family-sized units. Mid-rise, mixed-use development is a valuable tool when creating neighbourhoods that support healthy lifestyles and local economies, since it can help increase walkability and put more people close to transport, while also supporting local business.

Mid-rise buildings are designed to fit into the character of the neighbourhood Mid-rise and can help animate a main street or avenue Walkable neighbourhoods at a comfortable human scale Mid-rise development provides enough gentle density to support rapid transit, yet can blend into the character of a neighbourhood much better than high-rise buildings Shopping and retail at ground level supports local economies.

HIGH LEIGH HODDESDON

High Leigh Garden Village is a new community of beautifully styled 2-5 bedroom homes. This development will also bring a new primary school, play areas and sports facilities to the local area.

High Leigh Garden Village offers all the benefits of a quintessential garden village, combined with a quality of life where heritage and tradition blend with a contemporary outlook

The first phase will include 100 dwellings to ensure a mix and range of different properties as follows: 3 one-bedroom flats; 17 two bedroom flats; 6 two bedroom houses; 31 three bedroom houses; 39 four bedroom houses and 4 five bedroom houses. There will also be 20 affordable dwellings.

The High Leigh Garden Village development will deliver a high quality residential led development on land to the West of Hoddesdon and will include:  

  • Up to 523 new high quality homes

  • 2 form entry primary school 

  • A local shop

  • Up to 60 bed hotel including a gym

  • A Restaurant  or an alternative B1 commercial use

  • Commercial space

  • 19 hectares of Green Space (190,000 sq metres/47 acres)

  • Two Neighbourhood Equipped Play Areas

  • A Multi Use Games Area

  • Allotments

  • Formal sports pitches including a pavilion

  • Informal open space

  • Landscaping

  • Up to 80 bed Residential Care Home

CRIME

Studies of high-rise developments in Federal Germany have shown a significantly higher crime rate in high-rise developments compared to other parts of a city. A U.S. study shows that crime rates increase in proportion to the number of stories in a residential building. Communal areas (corridors, elevators, etc.) particularly show a higher crime rate in the high-rise developments. The conclusion of such research is that the spatial design of high-rise developments does not nurture the social control or observation potential that could help prevent crime. Suggestions for design improvement include the provision of hedge and fence separations and appropriately placed windows that suggest to potential offenders that they are being watched by residents and that also suggests to residents that they are responsible for controlling certain areas. Developments that provide excessively high densities of people are discouraged, because of their tendency to depersonalize space and stimulate aggression. Recreational facilities for youth are encouraged as a necessary means for them to vent their aggressions. Other physical design features suggested are corridor layouts that offer good visibility, stairwells that can be checked at a single glance, and improved lighting in underground garages and car parks. US Justice Department Academia exploring crime and place/location

In summary, current town planning and housing policies suggest that in the very near future housing density will be much higher than current levels and to date little attention has been paid to how levels of crime and fear of crime may be impacted.

David Cameron has announced plans to tackle social problems through bulldozing a number of Britain's housing estates, saying they are "entrenching poverty", and that the "brutal high-rise towers and dark alleyways" are a "gift to criminals and drug dealers". So does the design of estates cause crime?

Tony Blair addressed the 7,500 "forgotten" residents of London's Aylesbury estate, and vowed to redevelop it in order to "help the poorest people in our country".

 

Psychologist Daniel Cappon writes in the Canadian Journal of Public Health that high-rises keep children and the elderly from getting the exercise the extra effort it takes to get outside encourages them to stay at home and flip on the TV. High-rises, he says, also deprive people and especially children of "neighbourhood peers and activities." And he believes that the level of alienation and isolation, things that have been proven to negatively impact health and even shorten people's lives, increase with the height of the building.

 

High-rise living means crime, stress, delinquency – and social breakdown. Instead, we must Create Streets

Jan 24, 2013

 

The majority of tower blocks and multi-storey housing estates are the product not of the market, but of state control and the planning system. We should instead be allowing developers to create streets. Streets, houses and low-rise flats are more popular, provably better for the people who live in them (especially if they are social tenants or families), a great long-term return for the landowner and, critically, achieve the same density as the post-war estates they could replace.

For twenty years, very few multi-storey estates were built in Britain. Between 1979 and 1998, only six buildings above 35 metres were built. Why? Because the government-mandated post-war experiment in high-rise living was a disaster. Summoned into existence by the 1956 Housing Subsidy Act (which offered higher public subsidies the higher the building), the 4,500 tower blocks built by 1979 quickly descended into a frightening dystopia. Communities resisted moving. The new multi-storey housing become ‘hard-to-let’. Families and households refused to move in. The Thamesmead Estate, completed in 1968, was 40 percent full by 1974. 55 per cent were refusing to move into the Broadwater Farm Estate within five years of completion. And Ernö Goldfinger’s iconic Trellick Tower (known locally as the ‘Tower of Terror’ due to the risk of rape) was ‘hard-to-let’ within months. In 1971 A Clockwork Orange used tower blocks to symbolise a savage future with the film’s teenage protagonist (and ‘ultra-violence’ practitioner) living in ‘Municipal Flatblock 18A.’

Town planners lost confidence. Subsidies to build high were reduced. In 1977, an apostle of monolithic slab-blocks, Peter Smithson, admitted that he had ‘made a big mistake’ in his monumental designs. Margaret Thatcher supported studies that showed how disastrous the high-rise experiment was proving. High-rise building stopped. Many post-war blocks were demolished. Most of the remaining ones will be destroyed over the next twenty years.

However, with a curious lack of public debate the multi-storey phoenix has risen from the cinders. The last government changed the planning rules and mandated super-high density developments which all but demanded high-rise. Ken Livingstone supported this actively. In the last decade there has therefore been a ‘resurgence’ of high-rise building. By 2004, 24 buildings above 35 metres were being built per year. In 2003, there were only 1,800 high-density flat developments in England. But by 2007. there were 5,600 with 3,800 under construction and 5,600 more with planning permission. This is a 740 percent increase.

One example is the redevelopment of the Ferrier Estate in Greenwich. An enormous estate of tower and slab-blocks with few real streets is being replaced with an enormous estate of tower and slab blocks with few real streets.  In fact, these new multi-storey flats are often worse. 1960s apartments were large. New ones are much smaller. Studies have shown that the average new-build home in the UK is 11 percent smaller than older homes. They are the smallest in Europe and getting smaller. New homes are 53 per cent bigger in Holland and 80 per cent bigger in Denmark. This is why the redevelopment of one of the worst estates (the South London Heygate) can replace 1,100 flats with 2,462. Unsurprisingly, many flat-purchasers in the new developments don’t actually want to live in them. They are investors who wish to let them. This has all the makings of a future slum, should poor demand and falling rentals ever reduce the incentive to invest in their maintenance. We are repeating the mistakes of the past.

Why are tower blocks and large slab blocks so unpopular? Why do 89 percent of Britons want to live in a house on a street, 0 percent in a tower block and only 2 percent in an apartment?


Why do so few people chose to live like this? Why do social tenants account for 21 per cent of all households with children, but 79 per cent of those living on or above the fifth floor? Why are children in social housing are sixteen times more likely to live on or above the fifth floor than children not in social housing? Is this just a naïve British desire for cottages and country roses? Far from it. People are being deeply rational. Many peer-reviewed, controlled studies show that even when you take account of social and economic status, high-rise living is correlated with social breakdown, crime and misery. This is categorically not just the case in Britain. Nor is it just due to the concentration of poorer residents in British post-war developments. The evidence is too strong and too international.

One comparison of socially identical student populations found that those in high-rise accommodation committed measurably more (petty) crime than students in a nearby low-rise hall of residence. They were also less sociable. Numerous studies corroborate this. One showed that crimes were 28 percent higher nearby and 604 percent higher in the interior public spaces of high-rises. Multi-storey housing is also correlated with bad social outcomes for residents, again even when socio-economic conditions are identical. British, Indian, US, Hong Kong, Japanese and European studies over many years have consistently found higher levels of neurosis, emotional strain, stress, depression, mental illness and marital discord among those living on higher floors. Children suffer from more stress, hyperactivity, hostility, juvenile delinquency and temper tantrums. They are less likely to learn to dress themselves or use the lavatory age-appropriately.

Streets are probably better. People prefer them. They are less anonymous and easier for families. Crime is lower. People are happier. The economic returns to long term landowners are fantastic. And the great news it that we don’t need to build towers to achieve high densities. Official reposts and academic studies show that terraced streets can match the housing densities (75 – 150 units/hectare) of most existing high-rise housing developments. That is why as Southwark did more to replace streets with high-rise dwellings post-war than any other borough the local population fell. That is why (as the LSE has found) the terraced flats and houses of Notting Hill, Lancaster Gate and Earl’s Court are the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the country. This is why, in short, we do not need to build tower-blocks to solve our housing crisis but can create streets. The National Planning Policy Framework gives communities and local government the power to chose this future. They should seize it with both hands.

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