ARCHITECTS from Ellesmere are one step closer to winning a visionary award, after being shortlisted for their use of digital technology to enhance the lives of people in towns and cities.

Greenspace Architects have been shortlisted in the ‘Cities Visionary’ category of the New Civil Engineer TechFest Awards 2019 for their ‘One Housing Scheme’ – which will embed digital technology into the fabric of the properties and community to help address the challenges from a growing and ageing population.

Research by Shropshire Council has already shown how social isolation and supporting vulnerable adults in their own home can be done with technology. Richard James, Shropshire Council’s strategic development lead, worked with the team of architects and University Centre Shrewsbury to create a vision for a development that ensured that the homes were fit for the future.

“It is possible to develop future homes that slash energy bills to almost nothing and create communities that improve people’s health and wellbeing to prevent, reduce or delay people from going into hospital or ending up in care,” he said.

The new homes will be developed by Shropshire Council’s local housing company, which plans to develop properties to help meet the 28,750 homes needed across the county by 2036.

Councillor Robert Macey, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for housing and strategic planning, said: “This is an exciting scheme and is just one of the ways that we can directly address the challenge of unmet housing need that exists in Shropshire. Despite strong years of housing delivery by existing developers, the challenges remain.

“A housing waiting list of over 5,000 individuals and families, coupled with an ageing population who want to live independently for longer and people wanting to live closer to where they work, point towards just some of the needs we are trying to meet. It is important that we bring forward more homes that people can live in and enjoy for longer.”

Kevin Slack, director of Greenspace Architects, said: “The council challenged us to design a beautiful public realm that enhanced people’s health and wellbeing using smart metropolitan spaces that were accessible and beneficial for a ‘super ageing’ Shropshire population.”