Solve your own housing crisis with the ZedPod

A few weeks ago I was at a conference where Bill Dunster of ZEDFactory was speaking. All sorts of fascinating ideas popped up in his presentation, but one of them was this: the ZedPod. It’s a cheap and low carbon solution to Britain’s current housing shortage. Perhaps most intriguing of all , it requires no extra land.


Dunster’s idea is to build houses on stilts, so that they can be built on top of existing car parks. There’s still room for the cars underneath, so it doesn’t compete with existing land use. In fact, it dramatically multiplies the income from those car parks, so councils and supermarkets and retail parks might want to take a good long look.

The homes themselves are modular and prefabricated, delivered on site and installed with a forklift truck and minimum disruption. There’s a test home at BRE in Watford. Each house costs around £65,000, so they’re small and affordable and aimed at teachers, nurses, and key workers. They would work as student accommodation, or as starter homes for individuals or couples.

For that relatively low price you get a little home with its own front door and balcony, a downstairs with micro-kitchen, living room and bathroom, and a mezzanine with one bedroom. Because it’s built to a high standard, and equipped with solar power and battery storage, it has very low energy needs. Depending on your lifestyle of course, it is quite possible to pay no energy bills at all over the course of a year. Again, perfect for young people and key workers on lower incomes.

Yes, you’d be living in a car park, but in a neat little pop-up village that is close to amenities and workplaces, with low expenses. It’s a small price to pay for a starter home. If they’re built in rows, there’s room for shared outdoor space and little gardens too.

I think this is an idea with major potential. Imagine these above the big car parks at the park and ride, with residents able to bus into work. What about supermarkets installing them for their own workers, hospitals providing on-site housing for trainee nurses. Imagine councils making their car parks available for low cost housing. Luton has vast areas of land used for airport parking. Let’s double up on that space and solve our housing shortage at the same time. I’ve got some local lobbying to do, by the looks of it.

For any questions about the ZedPods, and more photos, have a look at the website.


  1. Interesting, though I wonder about residents parking, presumably beneith their pod, and consuming parking spaces? Especially at some of the places you’ve highlighted, hospitals in particular.

    1. If it’s urban housing, it probably wouldn’t need parking. Lots of flats don’t come with it these days, if you’re near enough to the town centre to make full use of public transport. And if you were providing cheap accommodation for staff or students, it would be on location with little need for a car.

      I suppose on underused car parks, such as retail parks, the owner of the car park could negotiate a long term lease for residents.

    1. The designers have given a lot of thought to fire risk, and among other things, the underside is clad with fireproof board. Interestingly the BRE site, which hosts test build, has also done research on car park fires.

      I’d be more concerned about someone driving into the support pillars, though I expect the architect will have thought that through too.

    1. Location location location, as they say. If these were being built as a new development, that’s what they’d be. But this is designed to be installed over the top of existing car parks.

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