The last 15 years has seen significant changes in the location, type, delivery and design of urban housing in the United Kingdom – with significant steps towards viewing better design as a central policy objective. This period has also seen the market provide a huge number of high density apartments in central brown field locations in our main cities – and now more so centring on urban and rural points of growth. The result has been the construction of investor-led dwellings of variable quality with limited local facilities and a stunted relationship with the surrounding townscape. The current recession provided us with an opportunity to revisit the appropriateness (in design terms) of this housing boom and allow us to examine the factors that led to this type of housing growth. The outcome has seen a housing product that has been variable in design quality terms – something which looks like an impending housing quality supply problem, particularly as the drive for housing numbers is central to dealing with the ‘housing crisis’.