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Together, apart? Situating social relations and housing provision in the everyday life of new-build mixed-tenure housing developments

Kilburn, Daniel (2013) Together, apart? Situating social relations and housing provision in the everyday life of new-build mixed-tenure housing developments. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Since 2000, mixed-tenure development has been advocated in planning policy guidance to local authorities in England, as a means of providing subsidised housing alongside market rate properties. This research explores residents’ experiences of three large, high-density, mixed-tenure housing developments in East London. A combination of in-depth interviews and survey responses provide insights into various aspects of daily life in these schemes, including interpersonal contacts and social relations between residents, attitudes towards tenure-based differences, and perceptions of the local neighbourhood. These insights are, in turn, situated within the context of an analysis of the provision process for mixed-tenure housing, based on interviews with key informants from housing associations, developers, architects and regeneration agencies. Policies for tenure-mixing ostensibly constitute a novel means of providing subsidised housing within a more social inclusive residential form. However, this research reveals a distinctly ordinary quality to everyday life in mixed-tenure schemes, within which the majority of interactions between residents were casual and infrequent, with relatively few close or sustained relationships, especially with between those from different social, economic or cultural backgrounds. On the other hand, these ‘mixed communities’ were by no means immune to tensions, divisions or prejudice. In both these respects, residents’ actions, attitudes and experiences did not correspond to ambitious propositions for tenure mixing to create an inherently more ‘inclusive’ social milieu with instrumental benefits for lower-income residents. This combination of banal and occasionally divisive social relations therefore appears to challenge the rationale for policy programmes to ‘engineer’ positive social relations through market-led interventions in housing provision. Rather, if this model of mixed-tenure housing provision does have a role in structuring the lives of residents’, it is arguably through design strategies that in fact function to keep inhabitants of different tenure groups apart.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Daniel Kilburn
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Research centres and groups > Cities Programme
Supervisor: Tonkiss, Fran

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