'Housing policy needs to focus on affordability'

'Housing policy needs to focus on affordability'
Orla Hegarty, Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy at UCD

The most significant challenges for the housing programme are capacity constraints and making the best use of limited resources, Orla Hegarty of UCD will tell the Annual Sunday Business Post Property Summit

What's your name?

Orla Hegarty

What’s your current job?

Architect and an Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin

How long have you held the position?

UCD since 2004

What is your professional background?

Prior to my academic role, I was an architect in practice. I have been directly involved in housing design and delivery in both the private and public sectors in Ireland, the UK and France.

You are speaking at the forthcoming National Property Summit in Dublin. What is the focus of your talk?

  • Affordability needs to be the primary focus of housing policy. Affordability is about enabling as high a number of people as possible to meet their own housing need from their own resources, whether buying or renting. How can this be achieved?
  • The most significant challenges for the housing programme are capacity constraints (across the construction sector, the professions, institutions and public sector) and resource efficiency (making the best use of limited resources)
  • This needs a strategic approach, to deliver housing communities that are sustainable - economically, socially and environmentally - for the next 100 years

What immediate changes are necessary to ‘rebuild Ireland’ and resolve some of the worst effects of the housing crisis?

  • A strategy for vacancy/urban renewal, so that investment is in permanent homes, not temporary solutions
  • A strategy for public lands that is a design, procurement and delivery strategy, not a land-value strategy
  • An efficiency strategy to make the best use of limited resources and capacity

What changes do you envisage for the sector over the next five years?

  • The housing sector is very vulnerable to external economic factors. Ultimately the solutions will have to be originate at home. External investment cannot be relied on and in any case it will serve only niche markets or highly subsidised markets. This is not economically sustainable.
  • There are opportunities to leverage capital investment in housing for a wide range of other policy gains. Examples include training/education (construction and professions), energy efficiency, sustainability/climate change, transport, productivity and recapitalising and supporting the SME building sector. These opportunities are being missed.

Orla Hegarty is speaking at the 5th Annual Sunday Business Post Property Summit at the Aviva Stadium on December 5th. Full details are available at www.propertysummit.ie

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