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Social policy and housing: reflections of social values

Manoochehri, J.; (2010) Social policy and housing: reflections of social values. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis set out to find the correlation between social values and standards in social housing in two major milestones in the developments in state-provided housing. The new spirit of optimism after the Second World War was developed by the latter part of the 1960s into the influential Parker Morris report. Having been commissioned by a Conservative Government in 1959 it was made obligatory for social housing in 1967 by the Labour Party in government. The post-war years that heralded the inception of the welfare state in Britain and are often referred to as the Consensus years, are investigated here and found to be centered on a social democratic agenda. In contrast with the above period, the post-1979 years became identified with their embrace of a liberal agenda, formulated by neo-liberal thinkers and politicians. This period which has the hallmarks of what has been referred to as a neo-liberal consensus was identified by the state efforts to reverse the social democratic agenda of the post-war years. Substantial social policy changes can be identified in the two contrasting periods, manifested particularly in the adoption of the universalist approach to social policy in the former with the selectivist approach in the latter period. This thesis investigates the factors that led to changes in standards in social housing in the two periods by searching for correlations between policy changes from universalism to selectivism and the dominant social values of the time. A number of housing estates were selected and the space and environmental standards in them were compared to verify the changes in standards. The political Party manifestos, policy documents, committee papers and recommendations were analysed to find indications of the state’s ideological stance at the given periods. The policy statements and social and housing policies were also analysed to find the correlation between the string of factors that lead from the state to the final built artefact in the form of social values, social policies, housing policies and social housing standards. In order to verify the findings of the research, semi-structured informal interviews were conducted with prominent actors in provision of social housing. In addition two housing estates were studied in detail as case studies of each period. The research found that the periods of ascendancy of social democratic ideology in the state, and social values based on the significance of the collective society and the equality of all citizens led to higher space standards in social housing, while the periods of ascendancy of neo-liberal ideology in the state, and social values based on the significance of individual action based on dominance of market relations led to a drop in social housing standards. A significant finding of this research was the importance of individual actors involved in the provision of social housing and their role in interpreting regulations in favour (or against) promoting higher or lower standards.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Social policy and housing: reflections of social values
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit

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