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Intimate Series: People-conscious development

How can we do High Density Development at a Human Scale?

Can we make places to fit people, not the other way around?

To coincide with the Mayor’s new Homes for Londoners programme announced this week, we are releasing a publication of our “Intimate Series” of new toolkits and principles which propose a fresh approach to housing and urban development; one which acknowledges the large scale changes urgently needed but is driven by a close focus on the human dimensions of places.

From shared homes to solutions for older generations, the proposals centre around more connected models of living, quality of life and well-being, building strong communities and creating distinctive places, with a particular focus on the potential of the Build-to-Rent sector.

Toolkits for People-Conscious Development

The Intimate Series covers a triad of related initiatives setting out methods for achieving “High Density at a Human Scale”:

  • Intimate Infrastructure – Seven strategies for housing-led, mixed-use developments

  • Intimate Homes - Three innovative housings types for PRS that are tailored to changing patterns of life

  • Intimate Neighbourhoods-LDN*NYC – A new cross-city R&D initiative on placemaking

The outline concept was selected by New London Architecture as a winner in an international competition for innovative proposals to help solve the housing crisis last year. We then developed it comprehensively following a high-level roundtable with senior GLA officials at City Hall to workshop how the ideas could be put implemented. The Intimate Series of toolkits is the latest outcome of the ongoing programme.

Intimate Infrastructure: 7 Strategies for High Density at a Human Scale

  1. Embrace the sharing economy and pool resources

  2. Respond to pressing & future needs

  3. Combine new and existing typologies & tenures

  4. Catalyse connectedness

  5. Create distinctive, liveable places

  6. Overlap generations, uses and adaptability

  7. Innovate new ideas of living

Intimate homes: 3 Innovative Prototypes for Build to Rent

  1. New purpose-built shared house

  2. Clustered flats for older generations / intergenerational housing

  3. Re-thinking larger family homes

The aim of the Intimate Series is to enable impact at scale, whilst also paying attention to the finer details of quality of life, well-being, sense of belonging urban vitality, character of place and community relations.

“Whilst the links between urban design, housing and people’s well-being, happiness and quality of life is complex and can be hard to measure, our lives are profoundly shaped and impacted by our environments. Our cities have a powerful influence on the way we move, behave and feel. For high density environments, the qualities of a place become even more critical in order to avoid mass housing delivered as monolithic, uniform blocks, at worst leading to generic, homogenous, bland and perhaps even “soul-less” environments.”

Intimate Infrastructure Strategy 5: Create, distinctive, liveable places.

“At a time of increasing change, we believe that we need to rethink established industry models to address contemporary city challenges and to accommodate 21st century patterns of life. We propose putting people’s needs at the heart of the process in order to deliver the types of homes that meet current and changing demands and to create the types of places people want to live in”


View the publication online here

Download the publication as a pdf here

About the Intimate Series

The Intimate Series is a research and development programme by Natasha Reid Design that explores approaches to making a more people-orientated city by challenging the status quo. The Intimate Series questions whether civic, economic, cultural and social values could be better stitched together.

Seeking to go deeper than surface appearances and form, it asks;

could design thinking be applied as a tool to unlock transformative change in addressing some of the most pressing challenges that society is facing?


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