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How to Make a City into a Firetrap: Relations of Land and Property in the UK's Cladding Scandal

Ward, Callum; Brill, Frances; (2023) How to Make a City into a Firetrap: Relations of Land and Property in the UK's Cladding Scandal. Antipode pp. 1-21. 10.1111/anti.12970. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Despite legislation banning combustible cladding materials after the 2017 Grenfell fire, at least 10,000 buildings were still awaiting remediation in 2022. This is in large part because fragmented ownership and management structures alongside the specificities of British property law produced a situation in which individual apartment owners (leaseholders) were liable for the costs of remediation rather than those who own the buildings (freeholders) or the developers who built them. Faced with unaffordable remediation bills, leaseholders became stuck in uninsurable, unsellable, potentially fire-prone units. Through the case of a London housing block, we trace the relationship between the structure of landed property, value extraction, and the distribution of risk to understand how a significant portion of the UK's housing stock have remained firetraps. We argue that institutionalised value grabbing not only created the conditions of social murder but also became an obstacle to remediation, resulting in a politically charged “asset class struggle” over the way in which the structure of housing property and its capitalisation mediates social harm.

Type: Article
Title: How to Make a City into a Firetrap: Relations of Land and Property in the UK's Cladding Scandal
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/anti.12970
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/anti.12970
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Antipode published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Antipode Foundation Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Assetisation; fire; cladding; housing; social murder; remediation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Planning
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10176943
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