Sadiq Khan has attacked Zaha Hadid Architects principal Patrik Schumacher’s call to sweep social housing tenants out of central London
In a highly provocative address to the World Architecture Festival in Berlin earlier this month, Schumacher attacked the system of subsidised and affordable housing in cities, saying market forces should dictate land use, rather than council officials.
He called social housing tenants ‘freeriders’ and ‘privileged’, and said it was unfair that they were keeping more productive workers, including those working at Zaha Hadid Architects, from living in the centre of London.
He continued: ‘The fact that somebody has enjoyed the privilege of a subsidised central location for some time in my view does not and should not establish ownership over this public resource.
‘Is it not fair that now it’s somebody else turn to enjoy this central location? Especially if it is those who really need it to be productive and to be better able to produce the support required for those who have been subsidised all along and will continue to be subsidised.’
Some central London areas, he continued, are currently ‘left to people who are free-riding and backed by the police for decades and supposedly for decades to come’.
Schumacher also suggested building on Hyde Park to create a new city quarter, as well as privatising streets and other public spaces.
But Khan hit back, saying that Schumacher was ‘plain wrong’ in a statement made in the Evening Standard.
He said: ‘One of our biggest strengths as a city is our diversity, with Londoners from different backgrounds living side-by-side.
‘So, whether these out-of-touch comments were designed to shock or not, anyone who thinks abolishing affordable housing altogether, supporting buy-to-leave empty properties and building on Hyde Park is the answer to London’s housing crisis doesn’t understand the first thing about our great city.’