Design for Homes commissions and undertakes research. Listed below are publications that we have produced, with details of how to purchase or download a copy. Please email [email protected] with any enquiries.


Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation (HAPPI)

Launched on 3rd of December 2009 by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), in partnership with Communities and Local Government (CLG) and the Department of Health, the Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (HAPPI) report calls for positive action in response to the UK’s ageing population.

With the number of over 60 year-olds projected to increase by 7 million over the next 25 years and much of the UK’s existing housing stock inaccessible or unsuitable, the lack of good quality homes for older people is a real concern.

The value of good design allows older people to stay at home for longer, avoiding falls and related treatment. HAPPI recommends specific components for the design of housing for older people which mirror the internal domestic environment of the housing industry in Europe, where apartment homes are a conventional part of urban culture. In Europe, older people experience the benefits of greater security and less maintenance, and enjoy the conviviality of shared space. Homes for older people should be at the heart of existing places and communities.

A consultant team comprising Pollard Thomas Edwards architects, Levitt Bernstein Associates and Design for Homes, were appointed to ensure that the panel were fully briefed on the key issues, as well as the broad area of study, and supported through best practice precedents and site visits.

To download the report, go to:  (Housing our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation)


Car Parking: What works where?

An easy to use guide to help urban designers, masterplanners, architects and highways engineers to design parking efficiently into the street scene. This is the most popular piece of research on English Partnerships website.

CLICK here.​ to order a copy.


High Density Residential Developments: A Good Practice Guide

Levitt Bernstein and Design for Homes Publication for Northern Ireland Housing Executive

This Good Practice Guide makes a welcome contribution to discussions around delivering quality housing and meeting housing need through high density residential developments. It will also hopefully act as a catalyst for continued innovative and creative discussion around achieving success in this area. The guide provides technical guidance on high density housing, offers design solutions and highlights principles for the effective management of shared spaces. The inclusion of case studies, photographs and diagrams demonstrate that good practice can lead to inspiring, enriching and sustainable uses of space. We trust that the Good Practice Guide will benefit all those with a key interest in housing delivery in Northern Ireland including the Department for Social Development, the Planning Service, housing associations, architects and developers.


Recommendations for Living at Superdensity

Schemes of between 150 and 500 homes per hectare are becoming increasingly common but are the right precautions being designed in?

Design for Homes, HTA, Levitt Bernstein, Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects and PRP have produced the report, which for super density schemes recommends:

  • Make context the primary issue for determining schemes
  • Provide some large, family dwellings
  • Include private open space for all homes
  • Draw up management and maintenance plansConsider the access to flats including security issues
  • Improve sound proofing
  • Design in the context of a wider masterplan
  • Create an energy strategy to take advantage of density
  • Collaborate closely with local authorities
  • Minimise service charges, which tend to be higher in superdense schemes

To download a PDF of the full report Superdensity2.


Perceptions of Privacy and Density

A unique piece of research looking at residents’ thoughts on SPACE, SECURITY, SOUND and SAFETY and across a range of housetypes from regency to MMC.

Overview of Privacy & Density Research Findings

Intrusion of privacy in the English home for most people means hearing or being heard by the neighbours. This is usually caused by poor construction and detailing of party walls, and sometimes by having the windows of adjacent properties too close together.

These are some of the findings of a major 68 page report into issues facing households living at the higher densities of 30-50 homes to the hectare called for in England¹s statutory guidance for the planning of new housing (PPG3).

“Perceptions of Privacy and Density in Housing” analyses experiences of different common types of urban housing provision dating from four different centuries  Regency terraces, Victorian milltown terrace, Edwardian mansion block, 1970s townhouses, 1980s conversion, 1990s urban regeneration and PPG3-compliant new-build. Researchers found that intrusive noise is by no means a function of higher density – two low density suburban models introduced as controls in the research (1930s suburban semis and 1990s large executive homes on an out-of-town greenfield site) were both damned by owners for suffering from intrusive noise.

The report marks the launch of Design for Homes Popular Housing Research, a new venture resulting from the merger of Design for Homes and Popular Housing Group. Sponsored jointly by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Town Planning Institute, Royals Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, the research set out to:

  • Understand which issues are significant in household and personal perceptions of privacy in housing.
  • Identify what design elements are effective in achieving privacy in higher density housing from different environments.

The research contractor Mulholland Research and Consulting undertook focus groups and in-depth interviews in the 10 schemes drawn from across England, 8 developed at PPG3 densities and two at below.

The eight developed at PPG3 densities were:

  • 1980s Hospital conversion and new-build, Jesmond, Newcastle
  • Hulme Regeneration, Manchester
  • Turn of the 20th century terraces, Ryton, Lancashire
  • Regency terraces, Clifton, Bristol
  • Poundbury urban extension
  • Greenwich Millennium village, London
  • Edwardian mansion block, Battersea
  • 1970s town houses, Norwich

The two low density developments were:

  • Wynyard nr Sedgefield, an out-of-town development in county Durham
  • 1930s suburban semis in Cheam, Surrey.

A surprise finding of the research was that households perceive privacy very differently from how regulation supposes they do. Members of a household are more concerned about getting away from each other through having private internal domains than they are about the spaces between them and their neighbours.

Click privacyorderform1 to download an order form and order a copy for £90 including p&p.


A New London Housing Vernacular

The joint work of Urban Design London and Design for Homes, first published in 2012. It is based on analysis of a range of schemes selected from entries to the Housing Design Awards. This is the beginning of a programme of work into assessing and understanding the phenomenon termed the New London Vernacular

Please call us on 020 3301 3855 to discuss a potential project.


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