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How Do We Build a Future Where Everyone Has a Home?

Festival of Economics

Watershed  |  £5 – £10

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With the ever-increasing demand for housing, how do we build enough homes sustainably and quickly?

Carol Lewis, property editor of The Times and The Sunday Times, chairs this Festival of Economics panel discussion on the future of housing, with economist Kate Barker, journalist and author Vicky Spratt, and academics Ed Atkins and Henry Overman.

With soaring housing costs and an enduring cost-of-living crisis, securing a home – whether buying or renting – is a significant worry for many. The government is yet to meet its housebuilding target from its 2019 manifesto and has closed its Green Homes grant scheme. This panel will discuss questions around housing supply, affordability and energy efficiency and what some policy solutions might be for both the short and long term.

Ed Atkins is Senior Lecturer at the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol. His work is focused on interdisciplinary research into energy transitions, climate change communication and a just transition.

Dame Katharine Mary Barker is a British housing economist. She is Chair of the Universities Superannuation Scheme and also chairs the Jersey Fiscal Policy Panel. Barker was an external member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee for three terms between 2001-2010. During that time, Barker was commissioned by the government to conduct a major independent policy review of UK Housing Supply, and subsequently a review of Land Use Planning.

Barker was Chief Economic Adviser at the CBI between 1994-2001. She was an NED at Taylor Wimpey 2011-2020, and she was also a Commissioner of the National Infrastructure Commission between 2017-2020. In 2014 she was made a Dame for services to the economy.

Carol Lewis is the property editor of The Times and The Sunday Times and winner of several awards including Columnist of the Year at the Property Press Awards 2022.

Henry Overman is Professor of Economic Geography in the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics. He is also the Research Director of the Centre for Economic Performance and the Director of the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth.

Vicky Spratt

Vicky Spratt is a journalist whose work regularly shapes public policy. Her 2016 campaign ‘Make Renting Fair’ led to letting fees in England and Wales being banned.

The Festival of Economics is supported by

Pay What You Feel

This event is part of our new ticket pricing structure where we ask people to pay what they feel they can afford in accordance with their means. Read more about it here. Read on for the ticket prices for this event.

One free carer ticket can be booked at the same time for a paying disabled visitor. If you need to book more than one, please contact us before booking to arrange.

Pay It Forward

The Pay It Forward option enables you to book a ticket above the standard price, and will help to subsidise a ticket for someone who requires the Pay What You Can option. This option is aimed at people who are able to meet their basic needs and would like to help somebody else with the cost of their ticket.

  • Is this for me? – I have access to a regular and stable income and I have the means and desire to contribute towards making the event affordable for others and supporting Bristol Ideas.


This recommended price is based on what we’d traditionally charge for a similar event. It helps us make sure that basic costs are covered. This price is aimed at people who are able to meet their basic needs and have enough to live on.

  • Is this for me? – I have access to a regular and disposable income, and I can comfortably afford the recommended ticket price.


This option is lower than the recommended price. It is subsidised by Bristol Ideas and fellow audience members who have booked at the Pay It Forward rate. This price is aimed at people who could do with support to get by.

  • Is this for me? – My access to income is low and unstable and I worry about meeting my basic needs. I would select a concession rate due to my personal circumstances.

No one will be turned away due to lack of funds, so please contact us if you have any queries.

Booking Information

Ticket booking is via Eventbrite. Please review Eventbrite’s terms and conditions and Privacy Policy as Bristol Ideas do not accept any responsibility or liability for the policies. You can read Bristol Ideas’ Privacy policy here.

Please note we only refund tickets if the event is cancelled. Events start punctually and, out of consideration to other audience members and speakers, our policy is not to admit or issue refunds to latecomers. Full Terms and Conditions here.


  • Watershed’s main entrance and Box Office are both on the ground floor which is accessible via a ramped, electronically assisted entrance door.
  • There are two Blue Badge parking spaces to the rear of Watershed on Canons Road.
  • Guide dogs and hearing dogs are very welcome.
  • The first floor of Watershed is accessible via lift from the main entrance and includes level access to all areas, including the cinemas and event spaces.
  • The cinemas and event spaces have induction loops.
  • There is an accessible toilet (with baby changing facilities) near Cinema 1. Follow the signs for the Cinemas and the accessible toilet is just on your left through the double doors before Cinema 1.
  • There are gender neutral toilets in the cinema corridor on the first floor.

Visit Watershed’s Access page for more information.

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