What is Great Places?

The National Housing Federation’s Great Places programme will address the specific housing challenges associated with the North and the Midlands.

What is Great Places?

Unlike rapidly growing areas such as London where housing supply is in severe shortage, in these areas the housing stock may exist but faces challenges in terms of quality and location. Over many years these towns and cities have experienced  economic decline and suffered from a lack of transport links, infrastructure and opportunities.

Through Great Places, we will identify the factors that contribute to making a community thriving and resilient, and look at how housing associations can work with residents, the Government, local authorities, private companies and not-for-profit organisations to create or rebuild great places to live across the country.

Housing associations are united by a single purpose – to ensure everyone in the country has the opportunity to live in a quality home that they can afford. As part of our Ambition to Deliver, the Great Places commission will identify and reinforce the importance of creating communities that people want to live in across England.

What do we want to achieve?

We want to know what makes a place great to live in, and how we can help deliver thriving and resilient communities across the country.

Through the Great Places programme, we want to:

capture the knowledge and expertise from within and outside the housing sector, and use this to share good practice and influence Government policy
demonstrate that housing associations are key local economic partners and can make an important contribution to delivering thriving and resilient communities
engage with stakeholders from across the political spectrum, organisations within the housing sector and beyond, and local communities to explore how we can work together to create great places to live.

Why now?

We believe this is the right time for us to be doing this work. We recognise that solving the housing crisis means different things across the country. It is about increasing supply in some areas, but in others it is about identifying areas that aren't performing to their full potential and exploring how we can revitalise these. With creating great places to live at the heart of our sector vision, housing associations are committed to playing their role in delivering thriving and resilient communities.

In the wider context, we also recognise that leaving the EU will lead to a loss of vital funding in some of the poorest parts of the country. Meanwhile, questions are being asked around the country about whether certain decisions are best made in Westminster or should be devolved to local authorities. We want to be part of these conversations.

How will we do it?

The Great Places Commission is the first stage of this programme of work and will comprise of leaders across the sector with direct experience of regeneration in the region. 

They will visit great and struggling places in each region across the Midlands and North, where they will engage with residents, mayors, councillors and academics amongst others. They will then use this insight to build an evidence-based understanding of what makes a place better, and in turn use this to develop tangible recommendations.

Find out more on the Great Places website.