Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is calling for the creation of a new generation of new towns and garden cities to address Britain's growing housing crisis.
Clegg warns that unless radical action is taken to boost house-building, for many young people their dreams of a home of their own will be no more than a "pipe dream".
In a speech to the National House-Building Council earlier this week, he said the government is making available STG225 million ($A347.87 million) in funding to "unblock" a series of major local housing projects which have "hit a wall".
Together, the schemes - which range in size from 4000 units to 9500 - will provide up to 48,600 new homes.
However, Clegg said the shortage of homes is becoming so acute, there will in future need to be even more ambitious, with new developments of 15,000 to 25,000 homes.
He said they should draw inspiration from the garden cities of early 20th century, such as Letchworth and Welwyn, and the new towns of the post-war era like Milton Keynes and Stevenage.
"It's time to rediscover that proud tradition of creating new places," Clegg said.
"We can either condemn ourselves to haphazard urban sprawl - the surest way to damage the countryside, we can cram ever more people into existing settlements, concreting over gardens and parks - and bear in mind we already build the smallest homes in Western Europe, or we can build places people want to live.
"Places which draw on the best of British architecture and design, which have their own identity and character, which - rather than destroy the countryside, actually have a crucial role in keeping it intact."
The deputy prime minister said the shortage of homes for young people has created a "generational shift" in the debate, with people becoming more receptive to the idea of new developments which in the past would have been strongly resisted.
"The babyboomers of the fifties and sixties, people who were largely catered for by the massive housing expansion after the Second World War, are now watching their children struggle," he said.
"The plight of the next generation is making what was an abstract housing shortage increasingly tangible and real. And as we, as a society, become more open to development that creates the space for politicians to be bold."