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Domestic energy demand is a topical policy issue, with implications for climate change, energy vulnerability and security. Domestic energy demand varies considerably by country, climate, building type, and even when these factors are the same, occupancy patterns and inhabitant's lifestyles also create variation. However, clarifying understanding of the basic locus of analysis: the home, house, dwelling, or household has received little attention to date, despite its relevance to debates on energy demand. This paper explores the theoretical and methodological assumptions of investigating the ‘house’ compared to the ‘home’ and the implications for domestic energy researchers. We suggest that the ontological priority given to the ‘home’ results in scholarship which considers both social and physical aspects that shape demand. Conversely, research prioritising the ‘house’ is dominated by techno-economic thinking, and overlooks critical social considerations. Recognising this important distinction, we conclude with a plea for scholars to be cognisant of ontology and language, and provide some suggestions for a future research agenda.
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)
The UK government has recently implemented the Green Deal, a new pay-as-you-save policy which seeks to fundamentally reform the existing housing stock to make it more energy efficient. Regarded by its proponents as a ‘revolutionary programme to bring our buildings up to date’ (HM Government 2010: 2), generate cash savings for householders, and simultaneously yield environmental benefits by reducing energy consumption, it promises much. However, there have been many critiques of the Green Deal from industry, environmental pressure groups and housing professionals. Moreover there has been very limited take up of Green Deal loans by householders, and those measures which have been installed offer perhaps only minimal improvements in overall energy efficiency. This paper therefore considers the potential generative and productive outcomes of the Green Deal by looking across three related issues: households with low incomes and in fuel poverty; the potential impacts on elements of the housing system; and, the extent of environmental benefits. The paper concludes by suggesting that the instead of being a revolutionary way to improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s domestic building stock, the Green Deal may potentially perpetuate existing social injustice and environmental degradation. The effort should, instead, focus on understanding how energy demand is created in the first place (e.g. desire for larger homes, energy-hungry appliances, heating in every room) through householders’ expectations and changing domestic practices.
In many countries, the demographic shift towards an ageing population is occurring against a backdrop of welfare state restructuring. The paradigm of asset-based welfare may become increasingly central to these developments as individualised welfare is touted as part of the response to the challenge of funding the care of an ageing population. This article focuses on the framing of housing wealth as a form of asset-based welfare in the UK context. We consider the strengths and weaknesses of housing as a form of asset-based welfare, both in terms of equity between generations and equality within them. We argue that housing market gains have presented many homeowners with significant, and arguably unearned, wealth and that policy-makers could reasonably expect that some of these assets be utilised to meet welfare needs in later life. However, the suitability of asset-based welfare as a panacea to the fiscal costs of an ageing population and welfare state retraction is limited by a number of potential practical and ethical concerns.
New research into the housing and social impact of community land trusts (CLTs) has been published by the Centre for Housing Research. The study, funded by the British Academy and conducted by Dr Tom Moore, highlights the important role performed by CLTs in developing affordable homes held in community ownership, and suggests key mechanisms that can support their future growth.
Drawing on papers from a recent ESRC seminar series of the same name, this special issue edited by McKee offers a critique of contemporary UK political and policy debates relating to the Big Society and housing policy. By drawing out wider narratives around localism, empowerment, citizenship and welfare reform the special issue also has a much broader, international relevance beyond the devolved policy context of the UK. It features papers from Dr Tony Manzi (University of Westminster); Prof. Keith Jacobs (University of Westminster); Prof. John Flint (University of Sheffield); and a co-authored paper by Dr Peter Matthews (University of Stirling), Prof. Glen Bramley (Heriot-Watt) and Prof. Annette Hastings (University of Glasgow).
Low pay, high house prices and a small rental sector mean that the housing market in the UK has many inherent risks. Few households have enough savings to cover their housing costs for more than a month if they lost their job. Growing numbers of households rely on the safety net to prevent them becoming homeless if they fall on tough times. Successive governments have made changes to the housing safety net so that it now provides less support to fewer people.
Mindful of these trends, Shelter commissioned the University of St Andrews to assess the gaps in the UK’s current housing safety net. The research estimates the number of households falling through the net or at risk of falling through, the characteristics of those at risk and the main risk factors leading people to fall through the net.
Albert Sabater (CHR) and Nissa Finney (University of Manchester) have contributed to the book entitled Social-spatial segregation: Concepts, processes and outcomes. This edited volume brings together leading researchers from the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe to look at the processes leading to segregation and its implications. With a methodological focus, the book explores new methods and data sources that can offer fresh perspectives on segregation in different contexts. It considers how the spatial patterning of segregation might be best understood and measured, outlines some of the mechanisms that drive it, and discusses its possible social outcomes. Ultimately, it demonstrates that measurements and concepts of segregation must keep pace with a changing world.
Drawing on papers from across the seminar series as a whole this briefing explores the possibilities, opportunities and challenges localism offers to community-based and non-profit housing in the UK, whilst highlighting the nuances and subtleties that exist in different jurisdictions according to the devolved nature of policymaking and local contexts.
Drawing on presentations given across the seminar series as a whole this briefing paper (no 1) explores the interconnections between the Big Society, and that of the current welfare reform agenda being advanced by the UK coalition government.