257 people per km² in the UK

Context

The UK is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe.  It has the fifth smallest houses in Europe with an average floor area of 87m², the third smallest average room size and the highest number of rooms per m²  1,2,3,4.  It also has one of the oldest housing stocks in Europe with 21% of dwellings built before 1919 and 16% built between 1919 and 1945.  The vast majority of this stock has been heavily modified.

The lack of space standardisation is often cited as being responsible for the UK having the smallest houses in Europe1,21.  These houses tend to have very little storage space and rooms are intended to be multi-functional1.

It is expected that by 2026, 18% of the population will be living alone, representing a marked increase compared with 13% in 2001 and 6% in 19715,6,7.  Nearly half of these single-person households will contain pensioners, but there is also a higher number of young people wanting to live independently and higher numbers of divorced couples living separately8.

At a time of ageing population, changing social demographics and a growing trend for home-working, understanding the influences that shape our built environment and behaviour is crucial.