Funny things words. When I was at school, being described as a disruptive influence was not a compliment.
Impact was primarily used as a noun. Sticky was used literally (to describe, for example and totally hypothetically, the sensation of Golden Syrup leaking down your skirt on the bus home after home economics class). And collaboration was something bad that had gone on during WW2.
These days, it is a badge of honour to be labelled disruptive, impact is used as a verb, sticky is more likely to be used figuratively and collaboration is seen as something positive that all the best workplaces aspire to. And a good thing too. Unlike Jacob Rees-Mogg, I am all for the evolution of language and have no interest in harking back to a past when equal pay and diversity weren’t on the agenda, half the country was on the dole, football hooliganism was rife and racists were loud and proud.
Britain is a far better place than it was in the 1980s, despite Brexit – and perhaps partly because of it. I genuinely wonder whether airspace development would be having quite the disruptive impact it is having at the moment if the government had not been so distracted by Brexit that the housing crisis had fallen completely off the political agenda.
It certainly looks as though Apex Airspace was pushing against an open door when it proposed airspace development as a viable new form of housing delivery at a roundtable discussion at No. 10 in 2017. Consider what has happened since. Not only has Apex secured £9m investment from Homes England, it has also received £10m from the Greater London Authority. The government then backed the airspace concept in the second iteration of the NPPF last year – and why wouldn’t it? Could there be an easier win than to support a company that wants to utilise totally undeveloped space to deliver the vital housing that you don’t have the capacity, time or expertise to? Airspace development could even be a solution to the retail crisis, Apex’s Val Bagnall argues in his comment piece.
He reckons Apex is on course to deliver almost £1bn of housing, representing around 3,200 new homes in the capital. Given such impressive numbers, it is little wonder that others are now getting in on the act. LSH has joined forces with Hamptons International to launch Airspace Exchange, for instance. After it posted miserable half-year results this week, it can at least take comfort in the fact things are looking up for one part of the business – and as 80s pop star Yazz would say, the only way is up, baby.
By happy coincidence, airspace development is on the agenda at this year’s RESI Convention, which takes place from 11 to 13 September at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport. A panel of experts will debate its potential during the ‘Innovation and Disruption’ session: ‘Above and Beyond’. People won’t just be talking about disruption, though, they will be actively disrupting. Courtesy of BeMyApp and Auriens, we will be holding our third #RESIHackathon, which challenges participants to develop later life tech solutions that benefit the whole community.