Unless you have been living under a rapidly melting glacier, you’ve probably got the climate change memo – as a global society we can’t keep going the way we are. With the Great Pacific Garbage Patch large enough to gain sovereignty (it’s three times the size of France just FYI) and children bearing the burden of the climate movement it’s easy to be disheartened. We are constantly talking about keep cups, debating plastic straws and policing our rubbish. But why isn’t construction and property a part of the conversation?
Housing is one of those things that has a finger in every problem pie. It draws class lines, it financially rinses young people and key workers such as nurses, police officers and trades people and it deprives the city of diversity and soul. And no, it’s not just a matter of giving smashed avocado a miss or more strict budgeting as some people would have you believe. Between 2011 and 2018 the average rent price rose by 21.7% whilst average monthly earnings creeped a measly 8.1%. In Greenwich renting prices have risen 50% while the average increase in wages was only 7.2%. Those are eye-watering figures with the potency of brown onions (is anyone else’s allergies playing up..?).
You might think you’re going mad as you compete with other unfortunate house hunters to fork out over half of your income for a mouldy basement flat with one window and a welcome party of mice. This feeling of insanity is heightened as you walk to your 9th viewing of the week and pass countless homeless people sitting outside vacant buildings in the heart of the city. Not only is it morally questionable (at best) but it is also completely illogical. Guardianship offers a viable solution that is both environmentally sound and socially invaluable; and it is something people need to start taking seriously.
You’ve noticed since you arrived in the city that there are people everywhere but none of them make eye contact with you. You’re uncomfortably trying to maintain a semblance of personal space on the tube as you, and seemingly the entirety of London, make the journey back to your gloomy money pit. As you acquaint yourself with the armpit of the man next to you you realise that you haven’t seen a familiar face for a day/week/month. Moving to a new city is always going to be challenging, but making friends shouldn’t be the hard part. Guardianship not only gives you a roof over your head but it also gives you the opportunity to make your own family. All kinds of people choose guardianship and, odds are, they’re your people as guardianship leaves the shadows of anonymity and becomes a first choice for many young professionals.
Guardianship is simple logic. We don’t need more buildings, we need to fully utilise the ones we have. We don’t need to pay obscene amounts for rent, we need smarter options. We don’t need to face London alone, we need spaces to connect and grow. Guardianship is by no means the be all and end all of the recycled property debate, but you don’t need to be a Greta to realise the environmental and social benefit of the system.