Conference: Building More, Building Beautiful

  • Monday, 19 November, 2018
    18:00 - 20:30

Architects should “stop being so defensive” and try to design houses that turn Nimbys into Slimbys (“something lovely in my backyard”), said Kit Malthouse MP, Housing Minister, at our Building More, Building Beautiful Conference – which brought together architects, planners, housebuilders politicians and journalists to discuss design and style in housebuilding. He praised Policy Exchange for “seizing the zeitgeist yet again”.


This was the last of three events Policy Exchange is holding as part of our Building Beautiful Month: a conference on “Building More, Building Beautiful”.

With speakers including:

  • Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Housing
  • Ben Derbyshire, President, RIBA & Chair, HTA Design LLP
  • Dr. Demetri Porphyrios, Principal, Porphyrios Associates
  • Anne Ashworth, Assistant Editor (Property and Finance), The Times
  • Paul Finch OBE, Programme Director, World Architecture Festival, Design Council & Editorial Director, Architects’ Journal
  • Roger Madelin CBE, Head of Canada Water Development, British Land
  • Sir Robin Wales, Former Mayor of Newham

About the event

Earlier this year Policy Exchange published its agenda-setting poll and report Building More, Building Beautiful. The report, which was praised by the Prime Minister when speaking at the Policy Exchange Summer Party, features a foreword by Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and shows that the public are much more likely to consent to new homes in their area when they are built in designs and styles that are popular. The report argues that to overcome popular resistance to housebuilding, new homes should be built in designs and styles acceptable to the public.

This event broughttogether architects, planners, housebuilders and policymakers to consider the findings and arguments of Building More, Building Beautiful. We discussed: what is the public’s preference when it comes to the designs and styles of new homes? Should we care what the public think? And – in practical terms – how can new homes be built in the ways the public like and want?

About Policy Exchange’s focus on Place

So much of the division in our politics and society revolves around a sense of place, or a lack of it. Who are we? What communities do we feel we belong to? Who are we prepared to make sacrifices for? These are essential questions which cut across policy in everything from housing development and the provision of public services, to devolution and Britain’s future outside the European Union.

Policy Exchange is kickstarting a new debate on the importance of place, explaining how it shapes our politics, from a local to a national level, from the smallest village to the nation-state. We will research how the State’s policy levers, including for housing, infrastructure and decentralisation, are rapidly changing. And we will explain how the opportunity to make a generational shift in the way communities are built is within reach. It is, we firmly believe, possible to transform growing communities into true – and beautiful – settlements, where everyone is given the opportunity to call somewhere home.

About Policy Exchange’s Building Beautiful month

This November, in what we are calling our Building Beautiful Month, Policy Exchange is holding three public events on housing and architecture while also publishing an essay collection on popular design and style and its importance to new housebuilding. The Building Beautiful Month brings together architects, planners, housebuilders and policymakers to consider the most important domestic issue of our time, the housing supply crisis, and the importance of design, style and architecture to solving it. It follows our agenda-setting poll and report, which showed the public are much more likely to consent to new homes when they are built in designs and styles that are popular.

As well as the Building More, Building Beautiful conference, events for our Building Beautiful Month include:

  • Marwa Al-Sabouni, Syrian architect and author, spoke on “The Loss of Home”, on Thursday 1st November. Marwa was introduced by Tom Tugendhat MP and her talk was followed by a discussion with philosopher and writer Sir Roger Scruton.
  • Sir Roger Scruton delivers the inaugural Colin Amery Memorial Lecture on “The Fabric of the City” with an introduction and vote of thanks by Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, 18:30-19:30 on Wednesday 14th November.