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Neighbourhoods: Effects, Dynamics and Policies

Neighbourhoods: Effects, Dynamics and Policies

A review of recent publications which, critical of the ways faith based organisations engage with the provision of homeless services, advocate the adoption of a liberation theology approach which argues that individual charity is not enough and that effective interventions require the development of social movements which challenge the systemic causes of homelessness.(In press)

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Article published in the Spanish journal 'Migraciones' - December 2013

The main objective of this paper is to analyse the transformation of host communities (those that are mainly inhabited by people born in Spain) and the formation and evolution of ethnic residential enclaves in Spain. For this purpose, this investigation has employed a time series (2000-2010) of detailed population data disaggregated by sex, age and country of birth of residents in all census tracts, the smallest geographies in Spain.

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The objectives of this commissioned report were to identify and examine housing need and housing pressures in St Andrews and to outline recommendations as how these may be addressed. Following interviews with local organisations and housing providers, a survey of students and resident households and an interrogation of census and local authority demographic (especially age structure) and housing data (house prices, rent charges etc.), two dominant problems were identified: the shortage of affordable housing and the (over) concentration of student accommodation (HMOs – Housing in multiple occupation) in the centre of the town. The report’s recommendations – partially based on experience elsewhere, especially in other university towns - included: the drawing-up of a detailed housing strategy for the town by Fife Council in collaboration with community representatives to cover, inter alia: the development of an appropriate yardstick for student housing density, and the continuation of and a geographical extension of the present HMO moratorium; the construction of additional student accommodation by both private providers and by the University; and the development of a programme for affordable housing provision starting with the designation and development of a ‘social/mixed housing village’ at the Kilrymont site of Madras College when this becomes available.

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Community-led housing organisations innovate in the resolution of local housing issues by adopting a specialised local focus and emphasising community leadership and engagement. In order to meet their objectives they require access to finance, skills and legitimacy; resources that are often secured through frameworks of intermediary support and external partnerships. This article uses two sector-based case studies of community land trusts (CLTs) and self-help housing to explore the importance and effect of intermediary support in securing access to these resources. These sectors have grown in size and importance in recent years through different forms of intermediation that replicate community-led housing in different locations. The article compares the 'scaling-up' of CLTs and the viral spread of self-help housing, highlighting differences in the emphasis that each approach places on community leadership and links with technical experts. We then discuss the implications of this for future housing initiatives and wider relevance for facilitating community-led innovation. Volume 4, Issue 3 of Voluntary Sector Review (November 2013)

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The new suburban housing developments in post-socialist cities have been ubiquitous icons of socioeconomic and physical change. This paper examines suburban owner-built housing as a long-term strategy of home improvement in Romania. It analyses residents’ motivations and financial strategies to move up the housing ladder through owner-building and their responses to key neighbourhood problems, in particular poor public infrastructure and non-existent public facilities. It is argued that owner-builders generally benefitted from the economic informality, the relaxed legal culture and the unregulated housing context of the Romanian post-socialist transition; but the absence of public actors has weakened their achievements, which is most apparent at neighbourhood level. The paper draws attention to a context of politico-economic reforms and a set of socio-cultural values of housing privatism in which resident responses may frequently generate consequential (collective) problems localised at the level of streets, neighbourhoods or even the whole society.

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- Integrates currently separate literatures on neighbourhood based problems and neighbourhood policies
- Provides new research findings from a range of counties and data sources
- Includes topics of interest to researchers and students across the social sciences

This edited volume critically examines the link between area based policies, neighbourhood based problems, and neighbourhood effects: the idea that living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods has a negative effect on residents’ life chances over and above the effect of their individual characteristics. Over the last few decades, Western governments have persistently pursued area based policies to fight such effects, despite a lack of evidence that they exist, or that these policies make a difference. The first part of this book presents case studies of perceived neighbourhood based problems in the domains of crime; health; educational outcomes; and employment. The second part of the book presents an international overview of the policies that different governments have implemented in response to these neighbourhood based problems, and discusses the theoretical and conceptual processes behind place based policy making. Case studies are drawn from a diverse range of countries including the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada, and the USA.
(Springer: Dordecht)

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- Integrates currently separate literatures on neighbourhood dynamics and effects
- Includes new research findings from a range of countries and data sources
- Material will interest researchers and students from across the social sciences
Empirical data suitable for application by policy makers

This rare interdisciplinary combination of research into neighbourhood dynamics and effects attempts to unravel the complex relationship between disadvantaged neighbourhoods and the life outcomes of the residents who live therein. It seeks to overcome the notorious difficulties of establishing an empirical causal relationship between living in a disadvantaged area and the poorer health and well-being often found in such places.

There remains a widespread belief in neighbourhood effects: that living in a poorer area can adversely affect residents’ life chances. These chapters caution that neighbourhood effects cannot be fully understood without a profound understanding of the changes to, and selective mobility into and out of, these areas. Featuring fresh research findings from a number of countries and data sources, including from the UK, Australia, Sweden and the USA, this book offers fresh perspectives on neighbourhood choice and dynamics, as well as new material for social scientists, geographers and policy makers alike. It enriches neighbourhood effects research with insights from the closely related, but currently largely separate, literature on neighbourhood dynamics.
(Springer: Dordecht)

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McKee, K. and Phillips, D. (2012) “Social Housing and Homelessness Policies: reconciling social justice and social mix”, pp 227-242, in G.Mooney and G.Scott (eds) Social Justice and Social Policy in Scotland. Bristol: Policy Press.

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McIntyre, Z. and McKee, K (2012) “Creating Sustainable Communities through Tenure-Mix: the responsibilisation of marginal homeowners in Scotland”, Special Issue: Sustaining Communities: being in/between place in the neoliberal era, Geojournal 77 (2): 235-247.

Abstract: The idea that the deprived communities of the UK’s towns and cities are ‘unsustainable’ has been a central theme of government housing policy since New Labour came into power in 1997. The creation of ‘mixed-tenure communities’ has been heralded by some policy makers as a key component of creating sustainable communities by overcoming concentrations of deprivation as well as creating responsible citizens who make few demands on the state. Since devolution, support for owner-occupation has been promoted by both Scottish Labour and SNP regimes as a regeneration tool, and has been included in the Local Housing Strategy of many local authorities in Scotland. Drawing on research in Glasgow, this paper achieves three things. First, it highlights the ethopolitics associated with the identities of owner-occupiers and social rented tenants as skilled or flawed consumers; second, it explores the tools used in recent years to create mixed communities through encouraging owner-occupation; and third, it questions the continued uncritical support of the insertion of owner-occupiers into deprived areas as a regeneration and responsiblisation tool.

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Who will pay the price for housing-based welfare policies?
Dr Beverley Searle raised this issue with housing researchers across Europe. In an Editorial for the latest newsletter of the European Network for Housing Researchers (http://www.enhr.net/Nl1-12.pdf) Beverley notes that ‘as demographic patterns change and societies age, this reinforces anxieties about the costs of caring for a growing cohort of older people, and the potential role for equity release’. Governments across Europe, indeed much of the developed world, are increasingly using housing wealth as the basis for substituting state provided health, care and welfare support in later life. Beverley challenged the assumptions underpinning asset-based welfare and asks whether such a system is sustainable when people are living longer and younger generations are finding it increasingly difficult to enter the owner-occupied sector of the housing market.

Publication:
Searle BA (2012) Housing wealth: will the next generation pay the price?, Editorial, ENHR Newsletter, March. http://www.enhr.net/Nl1-12.pdf


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