Housing and Communities Research Network
Localism and Housing - two research perspectives
Second Seminar and Networking Event
Tuesday 7 May – 4.15-5.45pm
Moot Room, Law Building
University of Birmingham
4.15 Angus McCabe Introduction and Welcome
4.20 David Mullins Putting the Social back into Housing: Learning through Localism?
This paper reflects on the UK policy landscape for social housing in the wake of austerity, localism and the big society. It explores some of the key contradictions in this landscape that are creating ‘Antisocial housing’ through far reaching reforms of ‘Big Housing’ while at the same time promulgating localism through community-led housing. It questions who community-led housing is for and could be for. It explores whether localist models hold any prospects for transforming Big Housing itself into a more community orientated sector. What would it take for Big Housing to Go Local? Could this enable a reassertion of a social mission to respond to current challenges from a reform mandate undermining the traditional social solidarity role of safe, secure and affordable homes and communities? The paper ends by introducing some perspectives from across Europe to inform future research on localism and social housing.
4.50 Richard Lang Exploring potential of community-led housing from Austrian co-operative perspective on ‘vertical social capital’ linking with the local.
Community-led housing has strong connections with the co-operative housing tradition, and international experience in this field therefore has strong relevance for implementing localism today. The experiences from studying the Austrian case suggest some success conditions for co-operative governance that may usefully be explored in the very different context of localist social innovation in England. The Austrian case shows how co-operative governance can influence the creation of important ‘linking social capital’ in local communities. Public promotion and institutional support beyond local governance have enabled professionalised housing co-operatives to leverage community ideas and practices leading to a solidarity-based housing policy. However, it also shows the risk that hierarchical and bureaucratic governance cultures of public promotion can endanger bottom-up resident action in co-operatives and so community-led social innovations may lose their dynamic.
5.20 Angus McCabe Questions and Discussion
After the seminar, there will be time for informal networking in the University’s Staff House bar.