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Why So Many Londoners Live in 'Two-Up, Two-Down' Housing (citylab.com)
67 points by pseudolus 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 87 comments

Only mentions one very practical aspect of the layout in passing: The original heating system is three coal fires, plus a coal-fired stove in the kitchen/dining room at the back. In a two-up two-down arrangement these can be fed into a single chimney stack (also shared with the neighbouring house which has the mirror floor plan). If there was another set of rooms on the other side then those rooms would be permanently cold, or else you'd need a second chimney.

Each pair of houses is really built around the massive chimney. You can see it as shaded boxes on the left in the diagram in the center of the page, although these boxes underestimate the real size of the chimney-breasts:


Our house has this arrangement except a former owner removed the chimney stack at the back to get more space in the back rooms. When we moved in the chimney stack, weighing perhaps 10 tons, was resting on a piece of wood on the wooden ceiling joists - it's one of the things we have since fixed at great expense.

When you're in London and you see a building with chimneys you can tell two things: (1) It was built before 1960. (2) Count the chimney pots and it will tell you how many internal rooms there are, since each room will have its own fireplace, flue and chimney pot. eg: https://stockarch.com/images/buildings/urban/rooftops-chimne...

I love the heat-mass feeling, many old houses are reliant upon this, and when unheated the chimneys can get wet, smell damp, and wick moisture from below.

Knocking through on an L shaped terrace, to the kitchen, gives a little more room, but I for one hate the smell of cooking food escaping from the confines of a kitchen. The mass also wicks sound.

Why built before 1960? Were there regulations restricting the build of new coal heated houses in London after this?

Smog pollution was a big issue back then. You'll have seen the old movies where London is "foggy".

Hah, those quotation marks definitely changed the way I see the brand identity of an American raincoat manufacturer.

The manufacturer is London Fog, and their brand is supposed to conjure an image of sophistication by association with a romantic ideal of London. But the reference they are making is actually, at least somewhat, a reference to a euphemism for pollution.

Yes, coal heating was banned around that time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_Air_Act_1956

Gas-fired central heating became affordable and was much nicer.

The truth is in the article, but surprisingly well hidden. Most of it is misunderstanding mid Victorian housing, or at the very least the term, and talks about derivatives not 2+2s. The key point of a 2+2 is the rooms are the full width of the house.

The floorplan shown is not a typical UK Victorian two up, two down. It's a three up, three down, sometimes called by estate agents an extended two up, two down. Count the rooms, it's not difficult. It's clearly heavily influenced by the 2+2. :)

The only point he gets it right is in the caption under the photo further on down the article:

Note that the houses in the foreground are built along more generous lines than those at the back, with bow windows on both floors and an extra room built above the projecting ground-floor kitchen

Yes, three up, three down, or as the the aerial photo two up, two down, with attached kitchen/bathroom. More like the shown floorplan to allow an extra third room on each floor, one of which being the then new innovation of indoor bathroom/toilet.

A two up, two down has a feature that the rooms are the full width of the house: reception, with kitchen in back -- one of those two has the stairs within it, the second floor has two bedrooms and a "landing" that's often just the width of the stair treads and two doors at the top. The toilet is outside by the coal house, and the bath was tin, hung up in the kitchen when not used, often under the stairs. They have often gained a 20th century replan or rear extension to permit the indoor bathroom/toilet, and frequently larger or separate kitchen underneath -- though many have kitchen and bathroom in a single ground floor extension.

Nowt else is a two up, two down, they're relatives, derivatives. Many mid Victorian 2+2 terraces came with colossal garden plots - 150-300 foot long, giving loads of scope for later indoor bathrooms, kitchens, and garages -- sometimes double length at the far end.

Well, that depends on whether you consider the kitchen (which in that floor plan is an annex of the dining room) and bathroom (which, as the article mentions, was added later in older houses) as "rooms". In Germany, these are usually not counted as rooms, hence acronyms such as "2ZKB" (2 Zimmer, Küche, Bad -> 2 rooms, kitchen, bathroom) for apartments.

Well when the term was coined, the key was two full width rooms each floor. Get out into the industrial and poorer areas especially in the North, Scotland and Wales and there were some one up, one down back to back terraces. Most of those went in slum clearances, but some survive...

Sure, the indoor bathroom/toilet was added later as it was a Victorian era innovation, but the second room on the ground floor was generally a back kitchen/diner. So you'll find a great many with a later kitchen extension (frequently flat roofed, and incredibly poorly, or not insulated) that permit separating kitchen and dining room, often adding an upstairs indoor bathroom/toilet for the first time. When those extra rooms were there from new build they weren't called 2+2s -- though they were clearly two bed houses derived from them.

UK estate agent standard for describing housing is number of bedrooms. Apparently we're meant to figure everything else from "two bed", "five bed". What else is in there is often quite varied and ludicrously (fraudulently) creative in estate agent blurb. Thank heavens for the relatively recent expectation of a floorplan and regulation limiting estate agent creativity. Until the 1980s or 1990s you almost never got a floorplan unless buying new, or exceptionally upmarket. :)

I would personally like to see higher buildings with parks around them rather than having houses packed.

More space, higher density. Win, win.

There's a ton of high density high quality flats being built in high rises in London right now. As you take the train in from the south you can see literally dozens of mid & high rise apartment buildings going up along the river. The only problem is that they're still astonishingly expensive, no provision is made to increase green spaces due to the increase in density and even if you were able to afford to buy one of these properties (you can't) you're still left with enormous maintenance fees to make the builder a nice tidy profit by selling off the maintenance contracts.

Getting on for a million for one of the riverside places in Vauxhall last time I looked, possibly more now - for a not especially large, 2/3 bedroom place in what is not a terribly attractive area at ground level. For half that you can find a 7 bed place with a sea view in St Leonards on Sea.

The worst thing about all of this is that the irresponsible borrowers have in many cases come out on top. People earn more from their house than they do by going to work.

> The worst thing about all of this is that the irresponsible borrowers have in many cases come out on top. People earn more from their house than they do by going to work.

This more than anything made realize that the UK has a broken system, and hard work and talent don't really pay off. Most people who are wealthy in UK either had dumb luck (e.g. those who are able to retire off of their house values despite anything else they did in life), or cheated the system somehow (tax evasion/avoidance, unfair laws that benefit the few, etc.).

The rest of us suffer under oppressive income taxes and punitive walls (the standard allowance reduction, lack of joint tax burden for families), that make it very hard to ever climb out of the gutter.

> The rest of us suffer under oppressive income taxes and punitive walls (the standard allowance reduction, lack of joint tax burden for families), that make it very hard to ever climb out of the gutter.

I've wondered before whether the IR35 tax rules were introduced because too many common folk were making good money in IT, whereas your average posho is more likely to be in politics, law, City etc. Can't have the plebs getting ideas above their station!

IR35 is entirely to do with disguised employment and was designed to prevent employers making their employee redundant and hiring them back at what initially appears to be a much better wage, but with no employer NI liability, no holiday pay and no employment rights.

While this does impact the common-or-garden IT contractor, it protects the ‘self employed’ nursery worker as well.

Many companies, including the government, employ contractors when they ought to be employing employees on fixed contracts. Once you start factoring umbrella companies, limited companies and all the employer liability, unless you’re really expensive there’s not a great deal of benefit to be had these days.

This isn't accurate as far as I know. IR35 was introduced by the Labour government specifically targeting PSCs, many of which include IT contractors, who Labour claimed were avoiding taxes.

While there is a lot of accuracy to this (disguised employment via a limited company has been a rampant problem in the IT industry), the fact is it is targeting specifically one of the few ways for a middle class person to escape the income tax trap.

There is a lot of systematic tax avoidance in the UK that is entirely ignored by the government. Much of London's service economy is driven by such wealth management schemes. Consider for example the network of crown territories which the wealthy use to avoid paying taxes (as, e.g. the Panama papers showed even David Cameron benefiting from this). Why doesn't the UK crack down on these mass tax avoidance loopholes used by the wealthiest? What about the policies propping up a property market that is impossible to get into for my generation, and supports the wealthiest in the country (including most of the Royal family). Why do leaseholds exist?

It feels like the middle class are truly hated upon in the UK. Labour thinks anyone who makes over 60k is "super wealthy" and should be heavily taxed. Tories on the flip side focus their support on the wealthiest and increase taxes specifically for the middle class only.

This was tried in the 1960s and turned out to be a disaster. People didn't want to live in those houses.

The New (quite old) Town of Edinburgh is mostly 4 or 5 story buildings of flats (a lot originally very grand town houses) with shared private gardens for each small area. It's a great place to live (we lived there for ~25 years, with kids growing up there) and is pretty desirable.

NB I don't know it would be economically feasible to replicate the New Town - but it does demonstrate to me that if you get the layout and quality right then people will happily live in an environment like that.

Central Berlin is mostly 5-6 story buildings, and this is a very nice scale. There's enough density that you can walk to everything, but not so much that the street feels inhuman. It helps to have wide streets and sidewalks.

In many places (I'm thinking Scandinavia as that's where I currently live) low rise housing developments are really nice. The balance of housing and community spaces & services is important.

The 1960s high rises were trying to build vertical communities but failed vertical separation seems to matter and it was just too dense. Ironically I think the reason why the new multi-million pound high rise apartments are popular today is because of their seperation from the community.

4 or 5 stories is very different from 20+ story tower blocks. Also those flats have private gardens at the back.

The private gardens at the back are, in every case I knew of in the New Town (although not elsewhere in Edinburgh), owned by the lowest flat in the building. The trade off being that get a garden but the flats themselves tend to be darker and dingier than higher flats.

The high-rises in london are crap is why. They're the standard place to live in Tokyo and people love them.

What was tried in the 1960s was to build horrible council estates in highrises.

It is perfectly possible to build good flats.

Sadly lots of the posh ones also end up facing a tragedy of the commons type scenario - I remember hearing about some new flats in Guildford that had a communal gym, pool and other 'modern lifestyle' accoutrements, but apparently every weekend someone or other would have mates back for a pool party, leaving it disgusting with broken bottles etc. strewn around. Standards have changed.

They had good intentions, lots of investment and optimism when they built them, and they still failed. How can you think we'll do better now? I would argue that people want private gardens because then they have an incentive to look after and invest in those spaces, so the idea was fundamentally wrong.

The shoddy council built flats from the 1960s, with thin, uninsulated, concrete walls, were clearly a bad decision.

Compared to most European cities, London has very few good quality apartment buildings. British people see this, and conclude that they're not possible.

Some older (1930s etc), good quality buildings exist in London, and newer "luxury" ones. I used to live in one, and it was very nice — no garden I needed to maintain, no space wasted by an individual heating system (and nothing for me to maintain). It was in a medium-wealthy area, with a price to match.

The aversion may also be down to the fact apartments are typically sold on a leasehold basis, often accompanied by exorbitant ground rent and service fees.

I wouldn’t even call it owning a property, when you are obliged to pay £200+ in rent and charges, £100+ in council tax, etc. in perpetuity.

The next article in this series gives a great example of desireable flats: How Berlin’s Once-Reviled ‘Rental Barracks’ Became Coveted Urban Housing https://www.citylab.com/design/2020/01/berlin-architecture-h...

The key point seems to be that although these flats were originally undesirable social housing, their spacious, unspecific layouts + somewhat reduced density from WW2 bombing allowed the transformation to the opposite: Expensive gentrified housing in very high demand.

Part of it is a mindset thing. I was raised in the UK and had this mental idea that flats are somehow bad quality or for lower classes. If you visit basically any other European city you can find good quality and affordable flats (usually they call them apartments though).

Good intentions and optimism don't always go wrong. The social housing for workers that Michel de Klerk built in the Spaarndammerbuurt district of Amsterdam is pretty darn nice. It's more gentrified now of course, but the beautiful brick buildings, courtyards, and parks in the style of the Amsterdam School were called 'palaces for the workers'.



>The workers' houses were primarily intended for port workers, who found their work in the nearby ports. [...]

>The most famous buildings in the Spaarndammerbuurt are the workers' houses designed by Michel de Klerk in the style of the Amsterdam School, located at the Spaarndammerplantsoen. Three blocks designed by him were erected here in the 1920s. The most striking design is 'Het Schip', located along the Zaanstraat. The houses were 'palaces for the workers'. Never before had so much care been given to the design of workers' houses. A post office was also part of the block. After the post office in 2000 had closed its doors, has been here since 2001 , the Museum Ship located. Other striking architecture came in the 1920s by KPC de Bazel at Zaandammerplein and by HJM Walenkamp at Zaanhof.



>Housing architecture

>Since his assignment for a block of labor residences on Johannes Vermeerplein, his name would remain associated with public housing. His most famous work is Het Schip, a complex workers' housing in the Spaarndammerbuurt in Amsterdam, built for the Eigen Haard housing association. Together with Kramer, De Klerk also designed a large complex for the social-democratic General Workers' Cooperative De Dageraad on PL Takstraat, also in Amsterdam. Klerk's socialist views have undoubtedly played a role in obtaining these assignments.



>Treasures of social housing: tour (walking, Spaarndammerbuurt) - Museum Het Schip

>Join us on a tour of the Spaarndammerbuurt, the revolutionary neighbourhood that stands as a living and breathing, architecturally fascinating relic to the Netherlands’ incredibly forward-thinking social housing drive of the early 20th century. A walk through the area will illustrate a combination of the subtly intricate designs of the Amsterdam School’s architecture and the socially progressive, ambitious goals of Dutch social housing. Stops along the way will convey some of the fascinating features, such as the Amsterdam School architecture of Michel de Klerk, the palatial courtyards of the Zaanhof, and the thriving community spaces of the Zaandammerplein.

The gardens at Het Schip:



Ever been to Monte Carlo? Flats can be quite nice...

> How can you think we'll do better now?

Because millions and millions of people live in nice flats all over the world. Just look across the channel: In France there are plenty of nice flats and most newly developed flats there put what exists in the UK to shame.

Your comment somewhat illustrates my point about the negative perception of flats in the UK, and the strange idea that the horrible estates of the 1960s are the only way to build flats.

In Greece as well, especially Athens, there are very nice apartment buildings with very nice flats in them.

Personally I would like to live in a detached house though. I currently live in a flat, but I'd like to have a garden.

I know of course that with the amount of space existing, and the need for people to live in cities, a detached house with a garden is for the few only that can afford it.

Personally I would hate it. I really like to live on the ground floor or the basement to confirm certain stereotypes. A penthouse wouldn't be attractive at all and I would hate to have to use stairs or an elevator just so that I can go outside.

Granted I would hate living in a place where you don't have any green as well. I don't get the factors that pull people into the city beside job opportunities.

In the past cities were cultural centers without alternatives, but that fundamentally changed with modern information logistics and individual transport.

I am still living in a city but most people leave at one point in their lives and I plan to do the same. The often proclaimed mega cities of the future sound rather outdated already.

> Personally I would hate it. I really like to live on the ground floor or the basement to confirm certain stereotypes. A penthouse wouldn't be attractive at all and I would hate to have to use stairs or an elevator just so that I can go outside.

As a counter-anecdote, I would hate having to live on the ground floor. I would constantly worry about thieves breaking into the apartment through some cracked-open window.

Also a common feature is the galley kitchen, an unpleasantly small working space that often doesn't accommodate more than one person at a time.

It's quite different to what I'm used to from Ireland, where the kitchen is the second social space of the home after the sitting room, and often contains the dining table.

In the UK the kitchen was a larger, family space until after WW1, when they started building more apartments in London. The art deco 1920s/30s vision of the kitchen was that is was secondary to the other functions of the house and that family & social areas should be distinct from the messy kitchen. Over the next few decades that spread to houses, whose owners wanted to appear cultured and have a dining room, forcing the kitchen into a smaller space.

The 1960s especially saw a lot of terraced houses put a small kitchen out back so they could knock through the 2 rooms downstairs and remove the old ceilings and fireplaces. In the 2000s those properties that didn't modernise in the 60s now fetch the higher prices.

Those awful galley kitchens were a feature of the move from proper two up, two down to the extra bit at the back -- the only way you can still get light into the back room is to make the projecting part narrow enough to still allow a window in the back room. So the now separate kitchen becomes a dysfunctionally small corridor with side facing window. In narrower fronted houses, these can seem so tight you wonder how people use the oven or fridge.

You say that, we stayed in a farmhouse in Ireland. Two rooms - one bedroom and the kitchen/sitting room, around a huge hearth. With the cowshed directly attached. Ours was vaguely modernised, hearth ripped out, small bathroom add-on. Without the warm hearth, the building started to suffer. If only these old stone cottages were insulated beneath and outside.

Small windows were a result of the window tax.

Well, peasant cottages from the 19th century, for sure; I lived in one at one point too, and there the cooking would have been done on the hearth, the focus of the living space.

That cottage was cool in summer and cold in winter and damp all year around, walls made from stone and mortar over 1 metre thick, originally with a thatch roof but since replaced with tile after a fire. The economy that built those cottages was basically subsistence living, hardly a structure built with surplus to make different choices.

Open plan kitchen / diners are common in the UK. It comes down to preference. Some prefer a separate kitchen and dining room and other prefer a combined space.

An under-appreciated aspect is how land law interacts with building preferences. In the UK if you own a house, broadly speaking you have complete control over its configuration and its costs.

Leasehold, which is the dominant model for apartments, gives that control to the owner of the whole building. This is basically a recipe for nasty surprises.

The average English person isn’t a law expert. But they know someone with a flat, and that they’re constantly complaining about their landlord.

Leasehold has been creeping in to regular terraced housing, too, along with its associated ground rent scandal.

Mandating a large proportion of units constructed to be high density 3 bedroom would change the London housing market. Currently young couples get a 2 bed (with one bed being a box room) and have to move out once the second baby comes (the pressure when a first baby gets to three is high as well). Three beds would make for long term family viability and would knock the pressure out of the housing market.

These houses already exist, so without going back in time this isn't possible. However it's very easy to add a third bedroom either at the back or in the loft which is what many owners do.

Would recommend this book: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Buildings_Learn

A big issue in London and the UK is that everyone wants a house and garden, and flats are usually poorly designed and poor quality.

One reason many couples move out of London when they have children is that it is impossible for most to afford such a house in London.

This also makes housing quite low density, which leads to longer commute and more expensive public transport.

Another reason why everyone wants a house is so that they can have a freehold.

People are understandably frightened of situations like this:


Housing is low density because you can't build higher by law, in most cases. It's one of the socialist aspects of the UK.

> socialist aspects of the UK

I think you're thinking of the other UK, the imaginary one that right-wing commentators make out to be a hellish nightmare of bad teeth inflicted upon the populace by fiendishly free health care. Instead of the real UK, with it's right-wing, capitalist, free-market friendly, populist government.

Building regulations aren't in any way socialist, they are pretty much global and many countries, including the "freedom" loving USA, have extensive government-mandated building codes which include height restrictions or mechanisms to limit height.

You are right that building codes aren't a sign of socialism at all.

The UK however has a pretty interventionist state. (But yes, they are less interventionist than eg the French. Low bar, though.) And eg re-nationalising the railways is perennial popular with the population. Luckily, no government has been crazy enough to do it, nor has it even featured much in election campaigns.

Not sure that's right re railways. Railtrack was de facto renationalised by the Blair government (becoming Network Rail) in the early 2000s, and we had an election one month ago where the main opposition party campaigned on a promise to not relet the private sector passenger franchises, ie de facto take them back into public ownership at the end of their terms. That isn't quite all of the railways (you've still got a few privately owned pieces of infrastructure, freight operators and rolling stock leasing) but it's pretty close.

Interesting, thanks! Please imagine I added the appropriate hedge words in my comment above.

With your corrections, it does move Britain a bit more into the interventionist state direction.

No, the reason people don't build taller residential buildings is because a lot of mortgage providers often won't lend to leasehold buyers in high-rises, which limits residence to cash-only buyers and council tenants.

Could you point out what law you're referring to?

Some early 20th century (and some earlier) housing in my UK city is 3 or 4 storeys. Many of the newer buildings are 4 storey, a few tower blocks (60s/70s).

National laws, not so much that I know of.

But if you read through The London Plan [1] policy 7.6 says: "Buildings and structures should [...] not cause unacceptable harm to the amenity of surrounding land and buildings, particularly residential buildings, in relation to privacy, overshadowing, wind and microclimate. This is particularly important for tall buildings"

So if you're filling in a gap in a Victorian terrace, planning officers will be checking whether you're going to be able to see into your neighbours' gardens more than existing buildings can, or cast shadows onto other homes.

Meanwhile, policy 7.7 calls for "tall and large" buildings to "generally be limited to sites in the Central Activity Zone, opportunity areas, areas of intensification or town centres that have good access to public transport" and to "only be considered in areas whose character would not be affected adversely by the scale, mass or bulk of a tall or large building"

And as some sources describe a tall building as "1½ times or more the height of their context" [2] tall building rules are easily activated in a two-storey area.

Of course, it's not completely restrictive - if an existing Victorian terrace has two-storey buildings with lofts, I've seen people get permission for a building with a basement, three above-ground stories and a flat roof - and if it's a house rather than a block of flats, that's a lot of stairs already.

[1] https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/the_london_pla... [2] https://planningconsult.rbkc.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/276546/18804485...

UK law respects property rights of the neighbours including e.g. right to light.

This is explicitly not socialism.

That's all pretty low. You could build ten storey building everywhere in London and have enough demand to sell them profitably.

That was true in the last century, but it just isn't the case now. It's rather the structure and economics (artificial) of the market that are creating this particular inefficiency.

> It's one of the socialist aspects of the UK.

Yes because building density regulations are one of the hallmarks of socialism.


>Currently young couples get a 2 bed (with one bed being a box room) and have to move out once the second baby comes //

I guess you've never heard of bunk beds?

Which are unsuitable for very young children? Yes, we have those in England, we just don't put toddlers in them. What sort of monster are you? :)

Precisely that sort of monster! You got me ;o)

"We" clearly do.

[I'm also in UK, fwiw]

'Legislation states if children over the age of 10 of the opposite sex are sharing a bedroom they should have their own rooms – otherwise this is considered overcrowding.'


Even the website you linked says explicitly that it's not illegal for children to share a bedroom, even if they are over the age of 10 and of opposite sex. It's considered overcrowded for purposes of various statistics but it's not illegal in the slightest.

I didn't say it was illegal.

Why do there need to be mandates?

The article itself mentions that mandates themselves made the low density configuration persist.

Those mandates persist because people don't want flat, and flats tend to be low quality.

There needs to be a change of perception, expectations, and better flats.

I think some of the earlier built flats are really good quality. With thick floors between too. Modern flats and houses in Britain can be built to very low standards. I watched a terrace go up near Bradford, with timber and stud walling between properties. Our bricked terrace is a nightmare with noise, but in those they must be able to hear each other fart.

People don't want flats because of leasehold.

Also a low density unit commands such a premium and so is cheaper to build than several high density units that would sell for a similar price.

Developers would far rather build a couple of "Exclusive Modern Mansions" rather than two blocks of four three bedroom flats. They make more money, but create far less value.

>make more money, but create far less value.

If the market structure doesn't allow reaping profit proportional to the value you create, the less profitable thing doesn't get done, even if it creates more value for society. It's a market failure.

The implications of that for progressive personal income taxation are left as an exercise for the reader. They're usually not explored for ideological reasons.

> The implications of that for progressive personal income taxation

I don't think there are any. An individual doesn't get to choose between a high tax job and a low tax job. The only way to get more money in your pockets is to get paid more money, regardless of whether you're taxed at 15% or 50%.

There are: wealth inequality (caused by income inequality) causes massive inefficiencies in the market (by for example incentivising wasteful luxury housing), because it means that buying power is not even close to proportional to genuine need.

Thus we ought to massively increase taxation on the highest earners in order to rebalance our economy.

>more money in your pockets is to get paid more money

Sure, I agree with you on that. You have to consider the effects on an additional unit of effort put in at that job. Progressive taxation sets up steeply diminishing returns on that marginal effort. And incentives to spend that effort on alternatives with better returns, like shopping for tax-sheltered investments. Because a salary's not the only income professionals have. So you can effectively make tradeoffs between revenue streams with different tax rates, one of which happens to be your job.

This clearly disincentivizes creating additional value for society through an additional unit of effort at that job, and it's a result of market structure.

What revenue streams does someone have that don't count as income and take a notable amount of time input? Most investments don't take any significant amount of time to set up.

And it's likely that whatever they're doing to get money should simply be counted as income too.

> This clearly disincentivizes creating additional value for society through an additional unit of effort at that job

Whatever they do instead might create less value for society, or it might create more value for society. I have no idea what the average is.

Also we have to look at the opportunity cost. By taxing one person with a huge income more, you can tax dozens of people with lower incomes less. In most cases that's a huge boon for society.

> Progressive taxation sets up steeply diminishing returns on that marginal effort.

Steeply? Bah. When you're talking about millions of dollars, removing 37 percent (or 50 or 70) still leaves an enormous incentive.

The thing that actually causes significant diminishing returns is that every dollar you earn benefits your life less than the previous dollar.

>you're talking about millions of dollars

I never meant millions of dollars. This argument applies to middle class incomes too.

Middle class income is below 37 percent marginal tax in the US, and they're not super high anywhere I'm aware of. "steeply diminishing returns" definitely does not apply.

I don't think that's true. In places like London it's not construction costs, but land, that really determines overall costs.

If people don't want flats, why do they need a mandate against them? I'm a bit confused. Just don't rent nor buy them, if you don't like them?

I lived in a two-up, two-down in Windsor, and my wife (when I met her) had one in Bexley.

They're nice houses. The main issue is that most now have to have an extension on the back to house an indoor bathroom. In my house, it was ground floor after the kitchen. In my wife's it was upstairs above a kitchen extension, but you could only get to it after going through the main bedroom. Handy as an en-suite, awkward if you had friends to stay.

There's plenty of space in the UK for housing. Just go up in a plane to look. The greenbelt curtails sprawl, and inflates housing value.

I don't think low-density has to even be that bad. Dumping the inner/town city road network would be a huge boon, freeing that space for green leafy walk/cycle/scooter/ways and parks.

Combined with the enormous levels of NIMBYism in the UK, it's amazing anything gets built at all.

The floor plan shows a knock through, that's quite non-typical, non-original.

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