The key role of housing
Housing is a complex term reflecting:
- Elements of survival (basic need of shelter)
- Capitalist accumulation (property)
- Emotional attachments and connections to places.
- More than ‘simply’ shelter/dwelling
- The concentration of individuals and families in similar housing and labor market situations (communities, neighbourhoods, ‘sink’ estates) locates home and work at the heart of everyday lived experience
- Housing is a key indicator of social class (closely related to income an wealth), it is a positional good
- Access to adequate, affordable housing central to welfare and well-being
Housing and welfare: Brief history
‘Homes fit for heroes’ was housing of a certain standard of housing - housing boom
- 5 giant evils:
- Want – basic living standards
- Ignorance – increased sense of citizenship
- Disease - financial struggle (lead to)
- Idleness – stopping if work
- Squalor – poor can’t seek employment. Beveridge report saw housing become epicenter of politics. It heralded the expansion of the welfare state: to protect ‘from cradle to grave’ all individuals and families – including from the squalor of poor housing
Beveridge identifies 5 pillars of the welfare state:
- - NHS – health for everyone
- - State education
- - Social security
- - State-funded housing
- - Full employment
Welfare reform & residualisation of social housing
- The charity “shelter” began after the film “Cathy come home” came out which showed the slow unpicking of the welfare state.
- 1979 Thatcher introduced Right To Buy (RTB) – best council homes sold off; residualised social rented sector
- Major expansion of low income O.O. (‘tenure of choice’) combined with deregulated bank lending; 1988 peak of house price boom (coincided with the end of multiple tax relief which had encouraged buyers to maximize their borrowing – last minute ‘bubble’)
- House prices fell continually from 1989; combined with rising unemployment and rising interest rates led to ‘negative equity trap’- by 1992 over 1.5 million HHs unable to sell their home for as much as they had paid/mortgaged for – sit it out for several years or hand back the keys, blacklisted
- By 1996 house prices recession over (but other crises were to follow in cycles of bubble/bust)
- 2008 ‘bust’ in sub-prime lending – global financial crisis combined with personal stories of foreclosure and homelessness
- Housing = the wobbly pillar under the welfare state as residualisation deepens and privatisation continues. Malpass, P 2003.
- The housing crisis is not simply the shortage of new housing
- Mass-produced owner occupation (market-led economies) increasingly unsustainable:
-standard housing is fixed in size and style, but needs change over the course of someone's life
-housing is a major source of debt, but little choise in this
-young people are excluded from the 'norm' because of high unemployment and a shortage of affordable housing
-housing and domesti life are a major facto in unsustainable consumption (carbon footprint)
-rising number of people living alone
-housing based on consumer culture emphasising the individual (privacy and possessions) rather than the collective (conviviality and sharing)
Housing, home and identity
- there is a status and stigma associated with identity and the place someone lives also
- notion of 'ontological security' (Peter Saunders)
- This is contested by scholars who believe that self belonging is dervied from non-material life projects and affiliations: 'belonging' to a home: this cannot be purchased as a commodity like a house
- attachments to a home are not fixed in time or space
Household formation and housing
Different life stages are typically associated with different types if housing and culturally constructed lifestyles:
- young singles may gravitate to central city apartments; young middle class families may prefer more suburban housing with access to green spaces and good school; retired couples may prefer retirement communities
- urbanisation, suburbanisation, gentrification and ghetooization
- yupies, sinky's, dinky's
Over the past 40 years, the rate of new houehold formation h(driven by increasing divorce and single living) has outsripped housing supply
The crisis is in affordability and sustainability
- a new role for alternative housing and ways of living: cooperative, shared space (like students), self-build, community led?
single family dwelling norms & Cohousing
- Feminist critique: 'arrested development'; of mainstream, private single family dwelling
- rising proportion of one-person and on-parent househols inhabitin homes designed to same idealised standards
Our houses are threaded like beads on a string, tied, knotted, woven together and in the cities even built together; one solid house from block-end to block-end; their boasted individuality maintained by a thin partition wall. The tenement, flat and apratnment hous still further group and connect us; and our claim of domestic isolation becomes merely another domestic myth.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman 1903
- Cluster of 25-40 modest dwellings with size variation
- common house for shared meals
- communal kitchen, dining, laundry, gym, workshop, quest bedrooms, garden and bike storage
- bulk buy food, car pool
- Create alternatives eg. shared and cooperative living
- Housing is a positional good - one that functions alongside labour markets (work and employment) and welfare: making the connection to better understand inequality and uneven development
- historic shift from rural to urban settlement combined with increased 'auto-mobility' - implications for housing choise and community provision - popularly percieved 'loss of community'
- boom and bust housing cycles coincide with crises in welfare (state, market, family, community) it is important to trace these connections historically and geographically
Conceptualising the contemporary role of housing i
Ford, Rugg and Burrows 2002
It is identified within this article the importance of shared living in the young adults life. Young adulthood is regarded as a life stage in modern society the transitional stage from teenage years into adult years. As people become less inclined to marry young and pursue careers, more young adults are sharing homes and apartments instead of living alone or as a couple. 'Peer shared' living is something young adults look forward to in their life stage of young adulthood as long as it is with friends and not strangers.
Urban Social Geography Knox and Pinch 2006
- Owner occupied dwellings in Britain went from 10.6% in 1914 - 52% in 1973 - 70% in 1999.
- Home ownership was encouraged in Britain by: grants to uilding societies, abolition of certain property related taxation, exemption of homes from capital gains tax, provision of mortgages by authorities, discount sale of social housing stock.
- Average 20% of housing stock in Social housing in Britain, 50% in areas in Scotland.
- Lloyd Georges, "homes fit for heroes"
- 6 periods of supply of public housing in Britain:
1. Cottage style semi detached dwellings 'Early estates' in 1920's
2. Council estates built in 1930's 3-4 storey walk up flats for slum clearance fmailies
3. Post war boom in public housing saw different character of housing. first given to unskilled low wage workers as couldnt compete in public sector. then others.
4. Different specific housing schemes generating popularity and status
5. 1960's public housing boom generated maisonettes and high rise blocks of flats. High rise were seen a s 'prestige' developments displaying pride and achievment
6. Big construction company turned attention to 'office boom' after 1968 also due to Ronan Point flats that partially collapsed in E.London.