The 2023 Prize

The winner was Dr Philip Graham, a UKRI Design Innovation Scholar, the University of Cambridge, Department of Architecture with his paper "Living without the ladder: How adjustable housing could help us thrive in the 21st Century"

Sponsored by

We are grateful to our sponsors, Altair, Aster, L&Q and Inside Housing. The runner-up was Dr Sharda Rozena, Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at University of Sheffield for her paper "One Kensington Gardens: buy-to-leave gentrification in the Royal Borough "


Living without the ladder: How adjustable housing could help us thrive in the 21st Century

Dr Philip Graham

Since 2008, the number of UK homes being bought and sold has fallen markedly. This liquidity problem forces aspiring homebuyers to make compromised choices and thereafter, makes it harder to trade-up. Meanwhile, housing in higher density areas is hard or impossible to adjust, such that more households will experience inappropriate housing for longer. In my research, I ask what is needed to give people real choice over time, so that more marginal homeowners - an important but overlooked group at the lower ends of the UK’s dominant tenure group - can thrive after the property ladder. I show that more ‘adjustable housing’ is not only about dwelling space, but needs to include other ways of owning, governing and sharing that make better use of the space and carbon bound up in our homes. This produces a more complete understanding of what is needed for people to live together, separately, in an environment that enables them to continuously adjust their housing to changes in career, family, education and care needs over our longer, healthier lifespans. These are examples of the episodic pathways that have come to characterise 21st Century living, as highlighted by recent shocks such as Covid-19 lockdowns and spikes in interest rates and energy prices.

Download the Paper

Runner Up

One Kensington Gardens: buy-to-leave gentrification in the Royal Borough

Dr Sharda Rozenap

One Kensington Gardens is a large nine-storey luxury apartment building on High Street Kensington. Rarely are there any lights on. The building exemplifies the many buy-to-leave homes in Kensington and Chelsea, the richest local authority in the UK. Looking at these homes from the perspective of residents and councillors who live and work in the borough, I explore how buy-to-leave housing hollows out community, increases the cost of living, sanitises public space and results in exclusionary and physical displacement. I also identify what role the local authority has in the process of financialising housing in the borough, including how councillors work with developers to make decisions that do not meet the needs of the residents they have been elected to serve. By concentrating on the voice of residents, I show how buy-to-leave homes reinforces the super-gentrification of the borough and becomes another form of gentrification that contributes to displacement.  

Download the Paper