With the global population predicted to rise from the current 7.6 billion to 9.8 billion by 2050, and with two thirds of us expected to be living in cities by then it’s highly likely that more and more flats will be built and people will be living closer to one another.
Flats already account for a high proportion of homes in the UK. The Government estimates are that there are 2.75m private leasehold flats in England.
So when the blocks of flats insurance specialist Deacon told us 10 weird and wonderful things about flats past, present and future I just had to share them with you!
1 The Romans
The Romans built the first flats from the middle of the first century BC, Rome’s success led to massive population growth. Housing was a major challenge, and to meet it the Romans learnt to build higher and stronger structures. The use of concrete, based on lime and volcanic sand, allowed them to create new architectural forms, while a standardised brick allowed for speedy and reliable construction.
2 Forest flats
The brainchild of Milanese architect Stefano Boeri, the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) uses more than 20,000 trees and plants to adorn the high-rise buildings from top to bottom these are known as forest flats.
3 Forgotten for 70 years
In 1934 and before the outbreak of hostilities of WWII, a famous actress called Marthe de Florian fled her Paris apartment for the south of France – and she never returned. The owner of the building never noticed! When he finally died in 2010, the experts called in to assess the value of his estate stumbled across a scene that was frozen in time. The flat was just as it had been left, untouched by time!
It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but the world’s first shape shifting rotating tower block is set for Dubai by 2020 according to architectural firm Dynamic Group.
5 Recycling on a gargantuan scale
Some of the biggest re-cycling projects of the millennium are taking place in our inner cities, where familiar buildings are being saved from demolition or neglect by being converted into flats. The BBC Television Centre at White City is one example, as is Battersea Power Station and the Hoover Building in London. The first residential tower block in the UK, “The Lawn”, was constructed in Harlow, Essex in 1951.
6 That whistle in your apartment block is a train coming through
Chinese planners didn’t let a little thing like a railway get in the way of the need to build more flats in the emerging mega-city of Chongqing. The train line simply goes straight through the residential building!
7 Tallest, Smallest, Largest – where in the world?
Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest skyscraper in the world standing at 72 metres high, but that is set to change. In 2020 the 1000 metre mile high Jeddah Tower, with serviced apartments, is set to claim the prize of being the world’s tallest building, for a while anyway. While in the Chinese city of Wuhan, with serious concerns of overpopulation looming, they’ve gone tiny.
The city has built two person apartments that are only 50 square feet! But when it comes to the largest, then first prize has to go to The Copan Building in São Paulo, familiar to Sim City players as a building they can drop in. The 38-story residential building comprises over 1,160 apartment units and is home to more than
8 Going underground and underwater?
It seems like the stuff of sci-fi but architects are looking seriously at the possibilities of building down rather than up! As long ago as 2011 a so-called Earthscraper for Mexico City was mooted, a 35-storey upside down pyramid. The concept is still on the drawing board, with a host of practical and structural challenges to overcome, and the Mexico City proposal is still the only plan to have been seriously put forward.
9 Most expensive
It’s no surprise that London ranks No.2 in the world for the highest cost of a city centre flat , second only to Hong Kong, but how does the cost of living vary within the UK? MSN Money took a look at the different costs of living in UK cities , with housing the major component.
Not surprisingly London came out top, where you need £7090 a month to live a comfortable life. Oxford, Edinburgh and Brighton came next at around £5000 a month. The UK’s most expensive flat was valued in October 2018 at £160 million. It’s address? One Hyde Park, London. SW1
10 The last word…..the legacy of feudalism
People are often amazed to learn that, in this day and age, it is still possible to lose your flat and be left with nothing if you break the terms of the lease or don’t pay service charges! That applies no matter how long you’ve been paying your mortgage or service charges.
Land law in Britain owes much to the feudal system that developed following the Norman Conquest with the rights to grant inferior interests (aka leases) in land and to take income from these. By the 16th century, the law of leases in England and Wales had morphed into a very confusing system, and an attempt to tackle this was the
Law of Property Acts 1925, which limited ownership to either freehold or leasehold, which is pretty much where we are today. Interestingly, covenants on freehold property only define what you cannot do.
* Source- www.deacon.co.uk