The figure is contained in a report by consultant WSP which reveals 63% of Londoners would be prepared to live above a library.
That figure drops to 11% above a prison and 23% above a hospital or school.
Building Our Way Out of a Crisis says the capital’s housing shortage can be solved by using the ‘air space’ directly above public sites.
The private sector would refurbish or fully rebuild the hospital, library or school, paid for by adding several floors of apartments above the new facility that could be rented or sold.
Director at WSP Bill Price said: “This isn’t about replacing schools and hospitals with apartment blocks, it’s about using the existing land more effectively with the added bonus that you can regenerate community facilities at the same time.
“It makes so much sense; these sites by their very nature are ideally located for new homes, close to transport and amenities. So why isn’t it being done already?
“The problem isn’t building them – the engineering design needed is far less challenging than what we did on the Shard.
“What we realised is that the challenge is more about the perceived issues of people living above places like hospitals because it’s not the ‘done thing’ in the UK. But it’s being done elsewhere.”
Jonathan Seager, Director of Housing Policy at business group London First, backed the report, saying novel solutions were needed for the capital’s housing crisis.
He said: “We are building less than half the homes we need in London and we will have to embrace bold new ideas like using ‘air space’ above sites if are going to turn this situation around.
“London is sleepwalking into big social and economic problems; our research shows large numbers of people are struggling to live and work in the capital, with three quarter of businesses warning the housing shortage is a significant risk to the city’s economic growth.”
In the report WSP looks at the real life example of St Thomas’ Hospital estates in Lambeth, which is earmarked for redevelopment.
The study found that if the Council partnered with a private developer to deliver 12 storeys of housing above the new facilities it could provide 4,150 homes – half of Lambeth’s 2021 target.