MB “... a load of nonsense ...” eh?
I had been going to add ‘apart from some small city states and islands’ in my comment but omitted it for simplicity. So, apart from city states like Macau (the most densely populated ‘country’ in the world), Singapore and Monaco etc, and little island states like the Maldives and Bermuda, of the main countries in the world the descending order of population density is as follows:
Rwanda (456) and then
If you categorise South Korea as a separate county, never to be reunified with the North, then it’s density of 515 comes in higher than England’s, and because of the advent of the dreadful Syrian war, Lebanon is now also higher than England’s, at a UN projection of 597. So whether 4th or 6th is a matter of detail; we are not “ ... way down the list in the World” as MB claims.
All other European countries, again except for city states like
Gibraltar(4,874) or the
Vatican City (2,273) etc., and small island states like
Malta (1,510) or
Jersey (898) etc., have lower densities than England. Holland used to be the most dense but we overtook it a couple of decades ago.
Obviously crude population density figures don’t take into account geographical factors such as the extent of hospitable, usable, agricultural or developable land compared to that which isn’t, but anyone with any sense of observation can see that England is densely populated, congested, and some would say (myself included) overpopulated. You only have to travel 20 miles across the Channel to notice how much we are compared to France for example.
Apart from the sheer unpleasantness of congestion, one should consider the impact this high desnity has on food security, water resources, energy requirements, and space to accommodate the extra houses that are needed for the 4 million or so immigration since 1997 (when the Blair Govt. came to power). Just after WWII, when Britain’s population was 45 million, we were about 95% self sufficient in food production. Now, with a horrendous population of over 65 million, and growing, we are only 60% self sufficient (2008 DEFRA report) and declining. We can’t therefore afford to use the remaining agricultural land for housing and all the other essential development associated with it. So if the mass immigration continues, we will be condemning young people and their families to cramped and expensive housing, let alone never having the prospect of actually owning a house of their own.
Further extension of PDR is madness. In our now grossly overpopulated country (England is now the most densely populated in Europe, and the fourth most densely populated in the world) development needs to be planned, albeit with much-needed more vision and flexibility than the present planning system offers.
As for helping to solve the housing crisis, further relaxation of PDR will achieve little or nothing. Only a complete stop to immigration (except for a small number of individuals with highly specialist skills that we may be currently short of) will achieve that. Denying that fact will perpetuate and worsen the crisis.
It seems a criminal waste of resources to be replacing a building that's less than forty years old. What price 'sustainability'?
Though I don't quite understand the relevance of the horse tale, Jonathan Ball's email seems a well balanced response to what appears to have been intemperate earlier comments by Elsie Owusu. Ms. Owusu's response to Mr Ball's email would also appear to have been a similarly considerable over-reaction.
It reminds me of when I was an RIBA councillor a decade or so ago when a fellow councillor took great exception to my use of the well known phrase 'motherhood and apple pie' that I used in the context of some architectural topic I’ve long since forgotten, but I remember her describing it, to my amazement, as ‘sexist’! I believe it’s of American origin, probably used by US soldiers who longed for the good things of life back home, and the lady in question should particularly have been aware of it as she was an RIBA overseas councillor who lived in the USA.
The lady also took offence at another well-known phrase I used, ‘Balkanisation’, again in the context of an architectural issue I’ve since forgotten, describing it as uncaring or war-mongering – I can’t remember precisely which.
These, and Ms. Owusu’s unwarranted reactions are indicative of the egg shells we are all forced to walk on nowadays in our increasingly fractured and un-cohesive society – which is to the detriment of all of us.
It was one of the several practical policies that I advocated in my manifesto for my bid for the RIBA Presidency in 2006.
I fully endorse Robert Franklyn when he says that it should once again enable students and young architects to know how to design and to build, and end the contempt that many builders justifiably have of our profession.