Top 3 alternative housing options

All talk of the housing crisis is a bit depressing and bleak. Yes, rents are rising and who knows if we’ll ever be able to buy a house… But here at Roost we’re all about positivity, so let’s fight back the tears and find new ways of living!

Researchers at the London School of Economics are doing just that – looking into the benefits of alternative housing and how new approaches to housing supply in London can increase output.

But what is alternative housing?

Alternative housing can be anything different to the usual method of renting a flat or a house on a street. It basically concerns affordability, sustainability, communities and the environment.

Here are three different alternative housing options:


self building is an alternative housing option

Photo credit: fishermansdaughter

Building your own home is obviously quite difficult to do in a city and is pretty unusual in the UK. But it can be done, and is popular in other European countries like Germany.

Walters Way in Lewisham, south London is a prime example of self-building. It was built by the people who lived there in the 1980s and there are still a few of the original residents living there now.

Live/work spaces

live/work spaces are alternative housing options

Photo credit: AndreasS

Live/work units incorporate your professional and personal life. Recently artists and small business owners have utilized their living spaces for work and these sorts of units – mainly disused spaces, loft or warehouse style – tend to be quite spacious. Since the 1990s, local authorities have encouraged regeneration of industrial spaces, especially in places like Hackney.

Havelock Walk, Forest Hill is an example of live/work dwellings. Twenty years ago the muse of buildings were used for car workshops and light industrial work. After a local artist purchased a unit and turned it into a studio, now all of the buildings are used as live/work spaces.


co-housing is an alternative housing option

Photo credit: Tony Hisgett

Co-housing is an option for people who want to live as a community but have their own space. It’s a particularly attractive option for older people when isolation can be an issue.

Co-housing also works for people who are keen to try communal living in places like converted warehouses.

Featherstone Lodge, an old Victorian mansion in south London, is part of a co-housing project. In 2011 two people went to a local housing association and offered to buy the building to use as group housing for older people. It’s one of five co-housing projects being developed in London.

So, alternative housing is a viable option. But there are problems to consider – the cost of land is rising and when it comes to live/work units, the trendier they are the more expensive they become.

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