by Brelda Baum
Danny Dorling’s book ‘All that is solid: the great housing disaster’ has recently launched at the London School of Economics (on18th March 2014) where it was flagged as ‘a ground-breaking examination of the UK’s dangerous relationship with the housing market, and how easily it could, will, come crashing down’, and goes on to voice Professor Dorling’s argument that housing ‘is the defining issue of our times’.
All that is solid: the great housing disaster provides a critical analysis of what the author considers to be the current housing crisis in the UK. The book looks at the way in which housing in the UK reflects class structure and social polarisation, and it addresses issues of freedom, greed and inequality. It discusses the shift in thinking from houses as ‘homes’ to houses as investments. It highlights trends in inequality in housing, and considers the crisis in housing affordability in the UK, and London and the South East of England in particular. Amongst the other topics that are covered, it addresses under-occupation, rent arrears and homelessness, and the negative effect of greater housing insecurity on health. And it concludes that to fix the housing crisis the relationship between wealth and housing needs to be addressed.
The Idox Information Service tracks a number of these key themes on an ongoing basis, including the ‘housing crisis’, housing affordability, rent arrears, and homelessness. We have recently highlighted good practice and research across a range of these areas and examples include those identified below (please note you may need to be a member to view some of these articles).
‘Home truths: 12 steps to solving London’s housing crisis’ (March 2014), where ‘London First’ looks at the reasons why London is building too few homes, and sets out recommendations on how to solve this issue.
Addleshaw Goddard’s (Feb 2014) review of the rental market ‘Making renting viable’ explores the barriers to the creation of a professionally-run private rented sector financed by institutional investors, and goes on to suggest that an institution-backed PRS has the potential to substantially ease the UK’s housing crisis, through bringing new capital into play and building new homes.
As to what role ‘new towns’ can play in solving the housing crisis – the Town and Country Planning Association identifies some key issues for any future government in its publication ‘New Towns Act 2015?’ (Feb 2014).
Shelter has some clear ideas about how to increase housing supply, in ‘Solutions for the housing shortage: how to build the 250,000 homes we need each year’ (July 2013), including by widening and diversifying who delivers housing.
Rhiannon Bury and Hannah Brenton writing in Property Week 14th March 2014, on the subject of ‘Developers and investors seek new town solution to housing crisis’, set out the views of politicians, developers, investors, and new town residents about the merits and issues at stake in new towns, what makes them a desirable place in which to live, and whether new towns and garden cities could be the answer to the current housing crisis.
Keith Cooper and Matthew Warburton in Local Government Chronicle on 13th March 2014 – ‘The agenda: housing’ – look at how Manchester City Council, Hackney Borough Council, and Wakefield Council are influencing their local and very different housing markets.