Tackling housing crisis top priority for Oxford college students

​College students believe building more homes to tackle the housing crisis is the most important priority for Oxfordshire.

Being able to buy a home was viewed as more pressing than tackling climate change or creating more jobs according to the City of Oxford College teenagers.

The two classes of business students were invited to give their thoughts on the future of the county as part of the ongoing engagement with young people by the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 team.

It follows similar sessions held last month at Abingdon & Witney College.

In the workshops, the students were asked about their hopes and fears for 2050.

They were also asked to identify things that exist now that may not in the future, such as diesel cars and the traditional 9-5, and things that do not currently exist that may do in 2050, such as new modes of transport or completely smart homes.

Overpopulation, air pollution and climate change were all concerns for the future, as well as personal health – fuelled by the current coronavirus outbreak.

But the students were excited about what new technology could do to improve their lives, from electric autonomous vehicles to robots to help around the home.

And when asked what the most important change they wanted to see was, building more homes was the biggest reply.

When considering what their lives in the future might look like, the teenagers still wanted a large house with a garden and a private vehicle despite the potential environmental impact.

Very few supported the idea of greater densification of homes or communal living to help tackle climate change.

Despite the majority of participants were born or grew up in Oxfordshire but most expected to leave the county, highlighting the impact of the housing crisis and the possible skills crisis it could create.

The responses will be used alongside those from Abingdon & Witney College to create a summary report that will feed into the plan-making process.

It forms part of a wider engagement agenda with young people, who will be the generation that should benefit the most from the Plan’s policies come 2050.