Posts tagged with "Affordable Housing":

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RIBA takes a look at Britain’s house of tomorrow in latest exhibition

Opening today, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in London is hosting a new exhibition At Home in Britain: Designing the House of Tomorrow. Focusing on three typologies: cottages, terraced housing and flats, the exhibition will critique vernacular housing trends of the past while addressing contemporary issues such as affordability, housing density and shared living. Making use of RIBA's extensive architectural archives, a diverse selection of six practices, divided into groups of two for each typology were commissioned with each producing projects and case studies specific to the task. The exhibition also ties in with the British pavilion at this years Venice Biennale titled Home Economics led by Shumi Rose, Jack Self and Finn Williams. Tackling the cottage typology, London studio Jamie Fobert Architects, who also designed the exhibition, looks at how plot sizes needn't be an issue in the 21st Century when considering low-cost countryside dwelling. "The ability to have your own piece of land hasn't really changed," said Fobert at a press preview. His exhibit which features an extensive site model of the Ailesbury East development, also criticizes the disparity between suburban housing that has been "dropped" into village contexts citing how 58 percent of space is tarmac. Also focusing on cottages is French firm, Maison Edouard François. François best known for his Flower Tower project focuses his study on a site by the Orly Airport just outside of Paris. Despite being destined for demolition, François advocated the site's reuse calling for individuality in his low-rise housing scheme. Taking on terraces are London firms vPPR and Mæ. Led by Alexy Ely, the firm has put together an interactive exhibit that encourages people to design their own terrace choosing from a selection of floor plans and facades factoring in lifestyle and budget. vPPR on the other hand take a look at how party walls, instead of separating, can unify residents in terraced housing. Tatiana von Preussen, one of the founding trio of female architects at the firm explained how recreational space doesn't always have to be secluded and private, using a 1:50 axonometric drawing and mirrored styrofoam 3D model to highlight the possibility of shared spaces. Here, von Preussen argues that as more people are working from home, a collective office space could be a future possibility while stressing that vPPR's proposal did not "impose" communal living, saying that the process would be "organic". On to the final typology of the flat and Dutch firm Mecanoo has put together a large wooden cuboid scale model aimed to demonstrate how different lifestyles can coexist in the same structure. Of all the practices, their work relies most heavily on RIBA's collections. Their exhaustive study showcases sections from Denys Lasdun's "ziggurat" halls of residence at the University of East Anglia and Peter Cook's competition submission for a block of flats on Roosevelt Island in New York. However, their primary inspiration derives from the floor plans of Britain's country estates, as can seen with Ragley Hall, where a central atrium serves as the buildings focal point and communal hub. Finally, Studio Weave from London take the most abstract approach. Their quirky exhibit chronologically looks at how housing was sold to public. Using this, they have put together a series of hypothetical adverts for the housing of the future - or of 2025 to be precise. The posters, baring a resemblance to Match.com's recent exposure in London, feature phrases such as "Meet your emergency dog walker" and "Meet your supermarket sidekick" envisioning a future where communal living is an in demand asset.
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A new study from the Historic Districts Council shows that historic districts are not the enemy of affordable housing

Timed to the 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Law, The New York Landmarks Conservancy, NYU's Furman Center, and Historic Districts Council (HDC) issued independent studies that analyzed the impact of historic preservation on the economy, environment, and housing affordability in New York City. The idea that historic districts drive up housing prices—and drive out poorer residents—is baked into conventional narratives of urban development. This month, the HDC, one of the city's oldest grassroots preservation advocacy organizations, released an analytic report that shows a different side of the story. "The Intersection of Affordable Housing and Historic Districts" uses regression analyses to compare New York City census tracts that overlap with historic districts with census that don't overlap with historic districts. Controlling for borough location and the time a historic district was designated, along with the density of residential units, the study found that, between 1970 and 2010, historic district designation had very little effect on rental prices and the number of rent-burdened families in each district. (There was, however, a correlation in some areas between an increase in average income in some historic districts.) Historic district designation, crucially, didn't prevent the development of government-subsidized housing, nor did designation reduce the number of subsidized units at a rate greater than non-designated areas. A broad survey of the results showed that there may be a negative relationship between rent burden and historic district designation. Significantly, though, a fine-grained regression showed "no statistically significant relationship of rent and income to the concentration (high or low) of residential units in historic district census tracts, or the timing of historic designation." In historic districts, moreover, there was less of a rental housing burden compared to non-historic district census tracts: In historic districts, rental housing burden increased by 8.8 percent, compared to 18.1 percent citywide. In Manhattan and Brooklyn, for the census tracts that didn't overlap with historic districts, the rent burden increase was 9.9 percent (Manhattan) and 20.1 percent (Brooklyn), compared to census tracts that overlap with historic districts (a 4.3 and 10.0 percentage point increase, respectively). The full report can be found here.
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AIA|LA asks “How will design professions respond to the nearly 47,000 homeless people living in L.A. County?”

A recent count by Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) put the growing visibility and proliferation of homelessness in L.A. County into stark terms. Reporting a 5.7 percent increase in overall homelessness, the report counted 46,874 homeless individuals this year compared with the 44,359 counted in 2015. Within that statistic, LAHSA detailed 34,527 people living on the streets full-time, up from 31,025 doing so one year prior. The count comes on the heels of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s as-yet-unfunded $138 million homelessness prevention and amelioration plan for fiscal year 2016, $86 million of which is earmarked for the development of permanent affordable housing like Michael Maltzan's Star Apartments. Hoarse-voiced homeless advocates across the region hope LAHSA’s report might provide the political pressure needed to finally compel city, county, and state officials to act in a coordinated fashion on a phenomenon savaging a region already struggling with ever-increasing rents, neighborhood displacement, and across-the-board housing shortages. Attempting to articulate the architectural community’s response to what it views as an increasingly important issue, the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIA|LA) chapter convened a special congress bringing together design professionals, thought leaders, and local officials with the aim of  developing “workable solutions” for addressing some of these housing affordability issues. The sold out, day-long congress, called Design for Dignity, also featured panel discussions and lectures from advocates working across the region to share best practices and new research. The congress was notable for attempting to place the contributions of architects and designers front-and-center, both in addressing these crises and within professional discourse itself. AIA|LA’s Director of Government and Public Affairs Will Wright explained the conference’s primary goals to AN as wanting to “connect policy makers and housing providers to design thinkers; to underscore the role of the architect as an innovator that needs to be at the decision-making table as early as possible; and to set a compassionate tone of the fundamental importance of designing for all a dignified human experience.” Long-time housing practitioners like Michael Lehrer, Michael Maltzan, and Lorcan O'Herlihy represented the design profession during various panel discussions held throughout the day, pressing for innovative and humane solutions. Regarding the architectural community’s role in addressing the homelessness crisis, Lehrer told AN, “Beauty is really a rudiment of human dignity, people who have nothing understand that and [they benefit from living in] places made with an open heart and with respect. [Architects] have to realize that the things that matter in architecture matter for everybody because they are human pleasures.” Recently, the L.A. County’s population surpassed 10 million inhabitants and a corresponding and the Census Bureau reported a three percent vacancy rate in the Greater L.A. area (a Census-designated region including Long Beach and Anaheim) rental market. Therefore AIA|LA is right to spotlight architects’ potential role as innovators and leaders on this subject. Congress moderator Peter Zellner told AN, “Architects and designers have to become more involved politically if we are to raise awareness [on addressing the homelessness crisis in L.A.]. It would be incumbent upon architects to propose forms of urbanism that integrate approaches for housing the homeless and poor alike. We have to lead through design and articulate a viable, alternate vision for L.A. that is dense, vertical and integrated.” With the abundance of homeless residents in the region expected only to grow over the coming years, it's likely this phenomenon that will continue to grow, exacerbating and even deteriorating living conditions for all Angelenos if solutions advocated by the likes of Zellner are not more actively pursued across the city. In fact, based on overall tenor of the day’s congress, it would be easy to argue that the future of architectural profession in the Southland is rooted in how design professions address the region’s combined homelessness and affordability crises. In a growing, densifying region, it’s likely that—along with sustainability and climate change—the issues of affordability and homelessness will play a major role in defining the careers of the young practitioners and students of today. Congress attendee Kelly Majewski, principal at the recently-founded landscape architecture firm Superjacent, told AN, “Homelessness is an extremely complex problem that requires collaborative forward-thinking solutions between policy makers, space makers, and communities. The answer does not just lie in the building of new structures, but also in our approach to shared public space, be it our parks or our streets. As landscape architects and urbanists this is one of the biggest issues we are facing in the coming decades.”
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COOKFOX–designed Bronx affordable housing with social mission—and stellar views—tops off

High on a hill in the West Bronx, the view from the top of COOKFOX's latest building plays tricks on the Manhattan skyline: One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and 432 Park Avenue seem to stand next to each other. Next year, thanks to a nonprofit developer, hundreds of lucky residents will get to take in the view. On Tuesday, the Bronx's latest affordable housing development for low-income and formerly homeless individuals and families topped off. The homeless services organization Breaking Ground (formerly Common Ground) partnered with New York City–based COOKFOX to design Park House and Webster Residence, twin structures that provide supportive housing with on-site social services and community space that complement the residences. Citywide, Breaking Ground operates two transitional houses (390 units) and 2,899 units of permanent supportive housing. The new Bronx apartments offer "a sense of permanence, a sense of belonging to the streetscape," explained Rick Cook, founding principal. Both buildings in this latest development, set between wide Park and Webster avenues, incorporate biophilic design, one of COOKFOX's guiding practices. The approximately 102,000- (Webster) and 247,000-square-foot (Park) structures are arranged around a residents-only courtyard; common areas are oriented towards green space. The warm brick and stone facade references the neighborhood's grand turn-of-the-century apartment homes. Recessed brickwork adds visual interest to the streetwall; up top, residents can access a green roof on the Webster Residence. The building, Cook noted, qualifies for Zone Green benefits, which allows additional floor area to be used for affordable housing. All interior treatments are low- or non-VOC, while  large windows take allow for ample natural light. The housing, Brenda Rosen, president and CEO of Breaking Ground, responds to community needs for two and three bedroom apartments. The most frequent questions she fields about the project are "How do I apply, and when?"
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Detroit’s Brewster-Douglass housing projects move one step closer to redevelopment

The site of Detroit’s former Brewster-Douglass public housing may soon be redeveloped into a massive mixed-use project. A group of developers, including Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Development, has been recommended by a committee composed of the Detroit Planning & Development Department, the city's Housing & Revitalization department, and the Detroit Housing Commission. The recommendation of the development team, known as Choice Detroit, will now go to the City Council. If approved by the city council, the project will be submitted for a federal grant of $30 million as part of the Choice Neighborhoods Grant program. The Brewster-Douglass public housing projects are made up of two sites adjacent to each other in the Brush Park and Eastern Market neighborhoods. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt broke ground for the projects in 1935. Envisioned as housing for the “working poor,” for much of their history one resident per unit needed to be employed. At its height 8,000 to 10,000 residents lived in the Brewster Douglass projects. Many of Detroit’s most notable celebrities once lived in the projects, including Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson. By the 1970’s the buildings had begun to fall in to major disrepair, and by 1991 demolition began on the low-rise portions. Demolition as completed in August, 2014. As reported by the Detroit Free Press, if approved, the Choice Detroit team will develop a master plan that could include affordable housing, park space, new streets, commercial space, community support services, and a federally qualified health center. The city’s original request for qualifications called for 500 mix-income units, 40 units per acre, and respect for the history of the area and "the rich African-American heritage in the city." Dan Gilbert, the founder and CEO of Quicken Loans, and owner of multiple professional sports teams, is behind some of Detroit’s largest developments. These include a new building at the former site of the J.L. Hudson department store in Downtown Detroit. That proposed building is designed by New York-based SHoP. The other members of the Choice Detroit development team include Columbia, Maryland-based developer Enterprise Community Partners, Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh-based KBK Enterprises, and Ginosko Development Co., based in the Detroit suburb of Novi.
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How the other half lives: Two housing-minded artists invite the public to live in luxury or affordable NYC apartments

In a city where "how much is your rent?" is a perfectly acceptable icebreaker, it's second nature to look into the windows of a NYCHA high-rise, or though the scaffolding of an under-construction luxury tower, and wonder, "what's it like to live there?" A new public art project initiated by Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida lets participants satisfy their voyeurism through a residency series, short-term stays in sample New York City "affordable" and "luxury" units. Powhida and Dalton have worked together since 2008, although MONTH2MONTH is their first collaboration since 2012. Produced by social justice nonprofit More Art, MONTH2MONTH's 4-day residencies are augmented by a monthlong calendar of public events that invite housing activists, politicians, artists, "doormen, financial journalists, and other stakeholders" to discuss how class, wealth, and race intersect to affect the ability of different groups to live in New York. With affordable housing now tied to luxury development, some events will interrogate how recently passed zoning changes stand to reshape neighborhood density and residential composition, while others will focus on art's uneasy relationship with the real estate interests, gentrification, and monied class that supports artistic production in New York. Sample events include an arch champagne tasting with finance writer Felix Salmon that addresses the "wide range" of housing contexts in New York (though presumably the discussion skews towards the Sherman McCoys of this world), as well as an interactive session around displacement with artist/activist Betty Yu. In addition to formal events, residents/participants will co-mingle with members of the public in the affordable and luxury apartments to share dinner, make art, sing karaoke, and create semi-public community in private spaces. The first happening, a housewarming party, is this Saturday, May 7. See MONTH2MONTH's full lineup of events here.
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Berlin restricts Airbnb to safeguard affordable housing

Berlin, the capital of Germany, has become one Europe's hottest city destinations of late. This may sound obvious, except when you consider that in the space of eight years, the city saw a increase of 13 million overnight visitors, totaling 30.2 million in 2015. As a result, many local residents sought to cash in on the tourism bandwagon: they list their properties through the popular renting site, Airbnb, as well as other online platforms. During this period, rents in Berlin rose 56 percent (from 2009-2014). While this may be good news for those renting their property, German authorities have been worried that the process is putting the supply of housing—especially affordable housing—in jeopardy. To combat the impending (or as some would argue, ongoing) housing crisis, the Zweckentfremdungsverbot law was introduced in 2014 and lasted for two years. Translating directly to "Misappropriation ban," the law prohibited the short-term let of dwellings to tourists who didn't have a city permit. Breach of the law resulted in a fine of up to $115,200. That two-year period however, as of April 30 2016, has come to an end. Now, a much tougher line has been taken meaning that those who don't live in the city can only rent out rooms via an online service and not the entire apartment. Berlin’s head of urban development, Andreas Geisel, described the move as as “a necessary and sensible instrument against the housing shortage in Berlin….I am absolutely determined to return such misappropriated apartments to the people of Berlin and to newcomers.” City authorities are also calling on the “civic spirit” of residents, requesting that they tip-off officials of any suspected breaches of the law. The policy, so far, has seen Airbnb listings drop dramatically by 40 percent in the last month alone. Not everyone has welcomed the change though. Speaking anonymously in The Guardian, a 48-year-old woman said that the law was bowing the hotel industry while forcing Berliners to foot the bill of its failed housing policy. She also remarked that the request from officials to act as informants was a poor decision. “In Germany, of all places, maybe we should reconsider this kind of thing," she said.
Wimdu, an online renting portal similar to Airbnb meanwhile has filed a lawsuit, claiming that the new law breaches the constitution of Berlin. The owners of 9Flats (also similar) also spoke out. “We face a law in Berlin that would drive us into bankruptcy,” they argued. Whether or not such regulation spreads across the continent, or even across the Atlantic however, remains to be seen. In New York though, city officials may be under pressure to emulate those in Berlin as a report released two weeks ago highlighted a substantial 78 percent increase of rents under Airbnb in New York City's predominantly African American neighbourhoods. According to The Independent, the report outlined how rents (including "private rooms, shared spaces or full units") increased by 35 percent across the city, but that "black neighbourhoods, there was a 60 per cent increase". Of these listings, 42 percent (of the above 60 percent) were for whole apartments, thus breaking state state law that bans full-unit rentals for under 30 days.
In response to the law enforced in Berlin, Airbnb spokesman Julian Trautwein said: "Berliners want clear and simple rules for home sharing, so they can continue to share their own home with guests. We will continue to encourage Berlin policy-makers to listen to their citizens and to follow the example of other big cities such as Paris, London, Amsterdam or Hamburg and create new, clear rules for normal people who are sharing their own homes."
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NYC City Council approves neighborhood-wide zoning changes for Brooklyn’s East New York

East New York is officially the first neighborhood under de Blasio to be totally rezoned. Yesterday, the New York City Council approved the East New York Community Plan (ENYCP) by a 45-1 margin. Because the ENYCP abides by the mayor's just-passed affordable housing and zoning initiatives, the eastern Brooklyn neighborhood is viewed by many as the first proving ground for the mayor's ambitious reforms. The primary goals of the plan are to create more affordable housing and spur economic development. The ENYCP is part of Housing New York, the mayor's initiative to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing. ENYCP covers 190 blocks and is the first plan to apply Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH), a suite of new zoning rules that require a certain percentage of new housing be designated as permanently affordable. In East New York, however, affordability would go deeper than MIH minimum thresholds: NYC Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD) says that any project it backs in the neighborhood will be entirely affordable. Units will be available to families making between 30 and 90 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI): $23,350 to $69,930 for a three-person household, respectively. 1,200 apartments will be constructed over the next two years, and HPD anticipates that more than half of the approximately 7,000 units developed in the neighborhood over the next decade will be permanently affordable. Lured by new housing, the city estimates that more than 19,000 new residents could move to the neighborhood in the next 15 years. The plan that sailed through the City Planning Commission, the penultimate approval body, in late February is slightly different than the one that the council passed. The council's modifications added more protections for displacement of current residents, tenant protections from harassment, promises to secure housing for the homeless, and additional community services like job skills training. The city will also spend $267 million on infrastructure improvements, including a new park and school.  
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Lake and Bake

Having built over 10,000 units in the San Francisco Bay Area—6,000 of which have been affordable housing—David Baker Architects is a leader in navigating the complex public-private partnerships necessary to build affordable housing today. The San Francisco firm, founded in 1982, recently completed work on Lakeside Senior Apartments, a compact, 91-unit, .66-acre complex located on the edge of Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood. The project adds an additional 91 domiciles to the nearly 757 affordable units built in the region in 2014, as reported by San Francisco’s Planning Department. Designed to maintain neighbors’ vistas of the surrounding landscapes, Lakeside was constructed to house very-low-income and special-needs seniors and includes 32 units set aside to house formerly homeless seniors. Residents must be at least 55 years of age to live in the apartments and have a household annual income no higher than 50 percent of the area median income. The housing complex, located at the corner of East 15th Street and 2nd Avenue, is organized as a grouping of two parallel masses that frame a central courtyard. The street-facing courtyard opens toward the west and is bisected by a slender perpendicular bridge that cuts across the L-shaped site, connecting the two apartment blocks. The courtyard spaces are organized as a rectilinear tapestry of grasses, Cor-ten steel, and concrete flooring, where residents can exercise and socialize. Ground-level community programs take place within a mostly unadorned board-formed concrete plinth, with overhanging housing above. The buildings’ articulated facades are clad in perforated metal panels and stucco, as well as vertical and horizontal louvers along east and west exposures. Deeply recessed balconies overlook both street-side and interior spaces, while ground-level residences along 2nd Avenue open directly onto the street with porches. The building’s ample lobbies feature spare, exposed concrete walls and light-colored wood paneling, and the buildings’ extra-wide corridors are equipped with handrails. Laundry rooms are located on each floor, surrounded by seating areas that open into the public spaces, while the aforementioned courtyard bridge features sunny lounges where residents can rest, gather, and socialize outside of their units. With sweeping vistas of nearby Lake Merritt, each volume’s fifth floor includes a gamut of wellness-focused rooftop community spaces, including a shared garden and a community room with kitchen. “The community garden is beautiful and actually very productive. The complex has really great breakout spaces—the courtyards and community rooms—where people can pause. That’s especially important for seniors,” principal David Baker said.
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Munich Residents Demand Affordable Housing Replace Parking Spaces

With major cities running short on affordable housing, local residents have adopted unique measures to air their grievances. In New York, the Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN) held a sign outside a real estate summit in Brooklyn last year, asking car-driving attendees to honk if the rent was "too high." Earlier this year, students at the University of Cape Town in South Africa erected an iron shack on campus to decry the lack of housing available to poor students around the city. For people living in Munich, the solution was simple but proactive. Leerstand089, a citizen group in the city, listed all vacant parking spaces to shame the authorities into building more affordable housing for residents. The plan worked, with a 120-unit apartment complex now slated to replace a parking lot once used at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The area is surrounded by large gardens with trees, a modest soccer field, and a swimming pool. To prevent the rent prices from rising, the apartments will be economically built to keep them within Germany's rent stabilization threshold. Leerstand089, which stands for vacancy and Munich's area code, has notched up several other successes with a number of buildings being earmarked as housing sites. The most recent is a 5,700-square-foot building now designated as a public housing cooperative that will contain 11 rental apartments. The group's basic action plan encourages everyday citizens to call out neglected buildings. If the building is being left unattended, they will report it to the city so it can be put to better use.
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Oakland Misses Affordable Housing Opportunity

More people are living in urban areas. We all know younger millennials are choosing more urban lifestyles and rents are rising. Much has been written about micro-housing, from Seattle to New York’s Carmel Place by nArchitects. Will these types of units help make housing more affordable? The issue of housing in urban centers—especially affordable housing—is a great and complex issue. On the west coast, cities like L.A. and San Francisco have a notorious shortage. Seattle, dealing with rapid growth, is trying to do things a little differently. Mayor Murray has launched the Housing and Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), with an action plan that proposes rethinking density upzoning by 16 percent of Seattle and building 20,000 affordable housing units in the next ten years through public and private funding. Sometimes, though, it seems two steps forward means one step back. In California this Tuesday, Oakland’s City Council approved market-rate housing on a parcel of publicly owned land near Lake Merritt in a 6-1 vote. This could allow a developer to build a luxury condo on the site. The vote shot down an alternative, the E. 12th Street People’s Proposal, which called for a different use for the land—affordable and mixed housing. The E. 12th Street proposal called for 133 units, housing just over 700 people. The proposal put the cost of development at a little over $46,000,000, with funding that could have come from a mix of sources including state and federal grants.
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Renzo Piano’s embattled “Paddington Pole” tower heads back to the drawing board

Those who campaigned against Renzo Piano's cylindrical skyscraper in Paddington, London,  are celebrating a victory now that plans for the tower have been withdrawn from planning. The tower, dubbed the "Paddington Pole," was set to top out 834 feet (72 floors) and rub shoulders with the Cheesegrater (The Leadenhall Building by Richard Rogers). Developer Sellar Property Group, which also worked with Piano on the Shard skyscraper, claimed the cylindrical tower would change the way Paddington is viewed, with the public no longer seeing the area as a place to catch a train to the west country or visit someone at St. Mary’s Hospital. However, Sellar Property Group was accused by residents of attempting to push the scheme through planning too quickly. Now, according to BDonline, founder Irvine Sellar has said that he considered concerns regarding “the height and impact of the tower element of the scheme on the local area.” This came after some “high level discussions” (no pun intended) with the leader and deputy leader of Westminster city council addressing the height issues. Sellar is supposedly keen to work with Piano on a revised design. https://twitter.com/CampaignSkyline/status/693391588165316608/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw Sellar went on to note that the revisions “will bring forward an amended scheme that will still deliver all the substantial benefits including the significant investment in infrastructure and social housing.” The 830-foot-tall scheme by Piano—who had previously said the only way to regenerate the area was to build a tall tower—had attracted fierce opposition with architects Terry Farrell and Ed Jones among hundreds who posted comments on the application. An online petition has attracted more than 1,800 signatures. Aside from opposition from architect Terry Farrell and local MP Karen Buck, one of the more prominent movements against the "Paddington Pole" was Historic England. “Tall buildings can be exciting and useful. But if they are poorly-designed, or in the wrong place, they can really harm our cities," Historic England CEO Duncan Wilson told the Guardian. "We trust that the revised plans for Paddington Place will take the area’s unique character into account.” “London’s skyline is unique, iconic and loved. It has to be managed sensitively and with proper planning,” he added. “Tall buildings can be exciting and useful, but if they are poorly designed, or in the wrong place, they can really harm our cities. We trust that the revised plans for Paddington Place will take the area’s unique character into account.” The proposal had promised a new Bakerloo line ticket hall for at Paddington station, offices, restaurants, some 330 homes and a sky garden. It had the backing of Network Rail, Transport for London, St Mary’s Hospital, the NHS, and the Greater London Assembly. Still, Philippa Roe, leader of Westminster council, was pleased at the decision to withdraw plans. “This is a very positive step and will allow time for us all to bring forward a development that enjoys broader community support and that we jointly believe will deliver enormous benefits to Westminster and London," she told the Guardian. "We remain committed to ensuring that all the benefits of the original scheme are retained in the revised plans.”