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RIBA president calls for analysis of UK housing needs

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Summary of story from the The Guardian, October 4, 2011

The new president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Angela Brady, is trying to start a conversation between house builders and consumers.

Ms Brady, who took over the two-year presidency from Ruth Reed just over a month ago, says there has not been an analysis of how people live or what spaces they need since 1961.

RIBA’s Future Homes Commission hopes to find out what consumers want and need, and use this information to make recommendations to house builders and developers.

It is a serious point, Ms Brady says, because many homes are simply constructed off-the-shelf from manuals; even the once ubiquitous term “architect designed” has been ditched.

She thinks the layout and planning of new estates also leaves much to be desired.

“We need to really re-examine the way we live and play, and to seek better models for the next 20 years.”

Ms Brady believes one of the reasons she was elected president was because she was the only person pushing diversity in the profession.

Only 18 per cent of the UK’s architects are women and, she says: “I’d love it if we could push it to 40 per cent.”

But, she points out, currently only 37 per cent of the students in the country’s 44 schools of architecture are women.

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