Neil May Memorial Lecture 2022

Neil May was an inspiration to many who work in the built environment sector and was instrumental in the development of many SDF-related initiatives. Alongside his innovative work on performance in buildings he was passionate about social equality in housing and understanding the roots of the ‘housing crisis’. For the second annual Neil May Memorial Lecture, which took place on 20 September at UCL in London, his legacy was carried forward with a searching examination into the intersections between the UK / international high-income economy housing affordability crisis, rent-extractive financial models, and the climate emergency.

Josh Ryan-Collins (UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose) argues that the demand for housing as (principally) a financial investment and source of rent extraction is the key challenge that needs addressing by policy makers, rather than supply-side interventions. He also examines how increasing supply of housing stock is incompatible with the UK’s climate and biodiversity commitments, meaning the key challenge is to rethink the allocation of existing residential space.

The session was chaired by Professor Bob Lowe (UCL Energy Institute).

Watch the recording


Presented by The Bartlett School of Environment Energy and Resources (BSEER) in partnership with the Sustainable Development Foundation; the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products; the Good Homes Alliance; Passivhaus Trust and Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance, and with thanks to Professor Nick Gallent and The Bartlett School of Planning for their collaboration in organising this event.

About Josh Ryan-Collins

Josh Ryan-Collins is an Associate Professor in Economics and Finance at UCL’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. His research is focused on macroeconomic policy, the economics of housing and land and sustainable finance. He is the author of ‘Why Can’t you Afford a Home?’ (2018, Polity), ‘Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing’ (2017, Zed books, co-authored) and ‘Where Does Money Come From?’ (2012, NEF, co-authored). His academic work has been published in journals including: Housing Studies; Socioeconomic Review; Ecological Economics; Nature Climate Change and Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. He was previously Senior Economist at the New Economics Foundation (NEF), one of the UK’s leading progressive think tanks, and is a council member of the UK’s Progressive Economy Forum.