We want to know what makes a place great to live, and how housing associations can help deliver thriving and resilient communities across the country.

About the programme

When I think of great places, I’m not just thinking of them in an academic or professional sense. I have skin in the game on this one. As do all housing professionals and leaders. The vision for the sector, Ambition to Deliver, says that by 2033 the following statement will be true: 'If you want a great place to live, come to a housing association.'

Ruth Davison, Executive Director of Public Impact, National Housing Federation

What is Great Places?

The National Housing Federation's Great Places programme will address the specific housing challenges associated with the North and the Midlands. Unlike rapidly growing areas such as London where housing supply is in severe shortage, in these areas the housing stock may exist but faces challenges in terms of quality and location. Over many years these towns and cities have experienced economic decline and suffered from a lack of transport links, infrastructure and opportunities.

Through Great Places, we will identify the factors that contribute to making a community thriving and resilient, and look at how housing associations can work with residents, the Government, local authorities, private companies and not-for-profit organisations to create or rebuild great places to live across the country.

Housing associations are united by a single purpose – to ensure everyone in the country has the opportunity to live in a quality home that they can afford. As part of our Ambition to Deliver, the Great Places commission will identify and reinforce the importance of creating communities that people want to live in across England.

Read more about why we think housing associations have a crucial role to play in creating Great Places in this blog by Ruth Davison, Executive Director of Public Impact at the National Housing Federation.

What do we want to achieve?

We want to know what makes a place great to live in, and how we as housing associations can help deliver thriving and resilient communities across the country.

Through the Great Places programme, we want to:

  • capture the knowledge and expertise from within and outside the housing sector, and use this to share good practice and influence Government policy
  • demonstrate that housing associations are key local economic partners and can make an important contribution to delivering thriving and resilient communities
  • engage with stakeholders from across the political spectrum, organisations within the housing sector and beyond, and local communities to explore how we can work together to create great places to live.

Why now?

We believe this is the right time for us to be doing this work. We recognise that solving the housing crisis means different things across the country. It is about increasing supply in some areas, but in others it is about identifying areas that aren't performing to their full potential and exploring how we can revitalise these. With creating great places to live at the heart of our sector vision, housing associations are committed to playing their role in delivering thriving and resilient communities.

In the wider context, we also recognise that leaving the EU will lead to a loss of vital funding in some of the poorest parts of the country. Meanwhile, questions are being asked around the country about whether certain decisions are best made in Westminster or should be devolved to local authorities. We want to be part of these conversations.

About the programme

I know the heart of the vision will emerge primarily from those who live and work in their communities. Our task will be to collect those contributions, to offer some ideas to all those who care about people flourishing in our society.

Dr David Walker
Bishop of Manchester, Chair of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Great Places Commissioner

How will we do it?

This work is led by the Great Places Commission, a group of leaders from across the sector with direct experience of place making and regeneration in the North and the Midlands.

They will visit great and struggling places in the Midlands and North, where they will engage with residents, community groups, representatives from local government, academia, business and civil society, among others. The Commission will then use this insight to build an evidence-based understanding of what makes a place better, and share this through a series of recommendations.

Get involved with Great Places

We're really keen to hear from members who are already doing great work in this area.