Housing shortages, affordable housing crises and “nimbyism” (people who resist building close to where they live) are increasing problems in many countries, but it is clear how much worse things have gotten in the Anglo-Saxon world.
Forty years ago the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland had about 400 houses per thousand inhabitants, on a par with the countries of Europe.
Undoubtedly, the same pattern is reflected in house prices, which have risen faster in English-speaking countries since the global economic crisis than elsewhere.
They seem strongly repulsed by the urban density in the culture that separates these regions from others. Three different things can arise here. The first is a common culture that values the privacy of having a home, easier to achieve in individual households.
A new YouGov survey confirms this: when asked whether they would like to live in an apartment in a 3- or 4-story building, Britons and Americans say “no” between 40 and 30 percent, respectively, while continental Europeans favor it. .
The cumulative impact of centuries of options like this is immense. In the OECD as a whole, 40 percent of people live in houses, and the European Union average is 42 percent. But that figure stands at 9 percent in Ireland, 14 percent in Australia, 15 percent in New Zealand and 20 percent in the UK.
This brings us to the second question: planning systems. It does not matter that the UK has a discretionary approach to other zoning users.
Finally, there is a paradox of nature: British engineering planners place great importance on preserving the environment, but preferring the development of low-density fuel poured into car-deficient vehicles.
Finally, whether tackling the housing crisis or protecting the environment, the answer to so many miseries in the Anglo-Saxon world is that we pour out anti-housing exceptionalism.