The Housing Design Handbook: A guide to good practice

Everyone deserves a decent and affordable home, a truth (almost) universally acknowledged. But housing in the UK has been in a state of crisis for decades, with too few homes built, too often of dubious quality, and costing too much to buy, rent or inhabit. It doesn’t have to be like this. Bringing together a wealth of experience from a wide range of housing experts, this completely revised edition of The Housing Design Handbook provides an authoritative, comprehensive and systematic guide to best practice in what is perhaps the most contentious and complex field of architectural design.

This book sets out design principles for all the essential components of successful housing design – including placemaking, typologies and density, internal and external space, privacy, security, tenure, and community engagement – illustrated with case studies of schemes by architecture practices working across the UK and continental Europe.

Written by David Levitt and Jo McCafferty – two recognised authorities in the field – and with contributions from more than twenty other leading practitioners, The Housing Design Handbook is an essential reference for professionals and students in architecture and design as well as for government bodies, housing associations and other agencies involved in housing.

Read a teaser for the book here.

Author: David Levitt, Jo McCafferty

Publication date: October 2018


Book Report

One Hundred Years of Housing Space Standards: What now?

Part history, part insight and part opinion, this is perhaps the most detailed and contextual analysis of housing space standards that exists, and certainly the most current. Written by Julia Park, Head of Housing Research at Levitt Bernstein, the account begins with a summary of the evolution, or perhaps more accurately, the comings and goings, of the various space standards that have been applied to new housing in England.

Reflecting on what history tells us, the book examines the role of space standards in the context of the current housing crisis and explores how themes such as under-occupancy, overcrowding, density, mix, land value, viability and politics are all part of the story. The final section offers informed thoughts about the way forward. It concludes that the benefits of regulation are likely to significantly outweigh any disadvantages and could be a catalyst for far-reaching, positive changes in the way we live – potentially resulting in more housing, not less.

Author: Julia Park, Levitt Bernstein

Publication date: January 2017


Further information:


Housing Standards Handbook

The last five years has brought unprecedented change to housing standards, the regimes that own, manage and assess them, and the tenures to which they apply.

Following the Housing Standards Review, this new handbook reflects the latest standards and best practice.

This publication:

  • considers the role that standards play in securing the quality of new build housing
  • breaks down the standards to show whether they are applied nationally or locally
  • features a checklist in the appendices containing all the standards listed in the book
  • is easy to navigate with best practice guidance and illustrations.

Author: National Housing Federation

Publication date: January 2016