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"They’ve come into our area and they’re tryna make us feel like we don’t belong here" : young people’s wellbeing and mixed income social housing regeneration

Khazbak, Rana (2021) "They’ve come into our area and they’re tryna make us feel like we don’t belong here" : young people’s wellbeing and mixed income social housing regeneration. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004383


In the past two decades Britain, along with other countries in the western world, has pursued urban regeneration policies that encourage the demolition of social housing estates and their replacement with mixed tenure developments. The aim is to create communities of residents with a mix of income levels and break down spatial concentrations of poverty. Growing up in the latter is evidenced to have a negative impact on individual life chances. Young people are thought to be among the most disadvantaged by these adverse neighbourhood deprivation effects. It is believed that the presence of more affluent households will improve their outcomes by exposing them to aspirational peers and role models, building their social capital, revitalising local economies and improving area reputations. However, there is limited academic evidence of these pathways in the UK context. This thesis explores the mechanisms by which the wellbeing of low-income teenagers is influenced by mixed income social housing regeneration. The capability approach is adopted as an analytical framework, whereby wellbeing is defined in terms of people’s capabilities or freedoms to be and do the things they value in life. To achieve this, the thesis undertakes a case study of a council estate in London that has been redeveloped into a mixed income neighbourhood. Guided by the principles of youth-centred research, a mix of ethnographic and participatory methods, semi-structured interviews and document analysis is adopted. A total of 76 people participated in the study, 40 of which were aged between 12 and 19 years, while the remaining 36 were adult community stakeholders. Data was analysed thematically using a hybrid process of inductive and deductive coding. The thesis does not find evidence of the hoped-for benefits of replacing social housing with mixed income communities. Instead, empirical findings show that there are four pathways through which young people’s valued capabilities are influenced. These are (1) dispossession, (2) social division and inequality, (3) stigmatisation and exclusion, and (4) community breakdown. While the effect of these mechanisms varied by age, relative disadvantage, gender, ethnic background, and personal circumstances, overall young people experienced restrictions on many of the things they value being and doing, with negative implications on their wellbeing.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2021 Rana Khazbak
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Burchardt, Tania

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