R. Buckminster Fuller
PALS is a community-owned development agency creating and managing 100% affordable housing for rent in London.
PALS uses a model of mixed-use development, ownership and secure tenure to create a growing supply of genuinely affordable housing, designed with flexibility in mind and built to last a lifetime.
The traditional idea that ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’ is out of date and out of touch with a new generation. The costs of home ownership continue to rise inexorably while real wages stagnate. The dream of having a home of one’s own is increasingly unattainable.
If you can buy, the prospect of pegging your future financial security to fluctuations in the price of your property – which you borrowed heavily to finance – is profoundly disempowering. Housing affordability and rising levels of personal debt are high on the agenda of public debate, but tangible alternatives to the mainstream are sorely lacking.
PALS is creating an innovative alternative. The growing desire for more collective ways of living and the demand for greater flexibility from the spaces where we live and work present unique opportunities for rethinking how we can build homes that are affordable, generous and robust.
PALS has designed a scaleable model for residential development, ownership and tenure in which land held in trust is used to build homes for long-term affordable rent. Individuals own a share in the development rather than an individual house or flat, giving more flexibility than traditional ownership structures. Residents have a stake in the shared whole providing a collective incentive to contribute to the wider community.
Long-term rents cover investor returns and are permanently linked to local median income with surpluses reinvested to improve the community or create new homes. Buildings are designed and delivered to last long into the future, with robust materials and a innovative structure that can adapt to accommodate the changing needs of the residents over time.
PALS has been founded by a group of millennial young professionals including architects, urban designers and journalists. We recognise that the mainstream housing options available to our peers are limited and unaffordable. We have created PALS as an independent community-led initiative to improve the quality and variety of housing for our generation.