Tiny houses could be built on London's roofs


New research by Knight Frank indicates that as many as 41,000 new dwellings could be built in central London using rooftop development space, without altering the skyline. The study uses the latest geospatial mapping software to show that more than 28 million sq ft of potential additional residential floor area could be developed (with KF estimateing that this airspace has a potential value of £51 billion).

The research project aimed to identify the extent of the Government’s pledge to seek out opportunities for higher-density housing in urban locations particularly “where buildings can be extended upwards by using the ‘airspace’ above them”. In response, Knight Frank has developed ‘SKYWARD’, a method to systematically analyse the potential of each building using 3D spatial data from the Ordnance Survey, cross referencing Land Registry data to assess ownerships and Historic England data to filter out listed buildings.

Overall, around 23,000 buildings could be suitable for rooftop development in Zones 1 and 2.

Charles Dugdale, Residential Development partner at Knight Frank said: “Skyward is a fantastically powerful tool for identifying development opportunities to unlock thousands of new homes in London and ease housing supply pressures, particularly in those areas where availability of land is becoming increasingly rare. It also has the potential to add an objective approach to planning decisions on a semi-permissive basis.”

Image: Didden Village, Rotterdam, a rooftop house complex from MVRDV

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