Futures of Housing Justice: Exciting Research to be Presented at the HSA Conference 2023

It’s still exciting to be able to attend conferences in person after several years of popping in and out of different zoom rooms. The Housing Studies Association Conference 2023 takes place in Sheffield from 29-31 March and this year, the theme is Futures of Housing Justice. This is a highly pertinent theme, given the inequalities and injustices within the housing system, harshly demonstrated through terrible events such as the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the related cladding scandal, and the more recent case of Awaab Ishak who died, aged two, as a result of ongoing exposure to black mould in his parents’ socially-rented flat, amongst others.

Several CaCHE colleagues and associates will be attending, presenting on a wide range of issues looking at different aspects of the housing system, along with other academics, policy-makers and practitioners from across the housing system. One of the great things about working for CaCHE is the wide range of different projects we can get involved in, as seen in the description of two very different CaCHE projects below!

First, Annette Hastings, Mhairi Mackenzie, Jocelyne Fleming and I will be presenting In parallel or in dialogue? Recent housing and domestic abuse policy change in Scotland. This research, initially funded by CaCHE back in 2020 as one of the Covid-19 and housing workstreams, explores both the drivers of connectivity between these two policy worlds, and also potential differences or tensions that may explain the lack of policy intersection and dialogue. This is done using a case study of recent policy change in Scotland. In doing so, the presentation considers whether there are distinctive understandings of how the problem of abuse is understood in these two policy domains.

Next, Gareth James and I will present on The Contested Politics of Residential Space, a project led by Mark Stephens which is currently in the reporting stage. This project has used deliberative workshops in Glasgow and London to try and develop guiding principles about significant issues in relation to three key policies: the Single-person Council Tax Discount, the Shared Accommodation Rate and the ‘Bedroom Tax.’ The Workshops explored participants’ views regarding whether these policies are a) fair and reasonable; b) whether all eligible people should be entitled to/ affected by the policy regardless of factors such as their income or age, and c) if there are circumstances in which anyone should not be entitled/ affected by the policy. The analysis identifies those values attached to each policy about which there was a general consensus (particularly for the Shared Accommodation Rate) and those where there was greater dissensus (the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and the Single Person’s Council Tax Discount). The presentation will end by highlighting the utility of applying deliberative methods within housing studies, suggesting avenues for further research.

Finally, I will present Community enterprises, community assets and processes of urban regeneration and gentrification in tumultuous times. This work combines finding from my PhD research, completed at the University of Glasgow in 2020, with follow-on work completed as part of a post-doctoral research fellowship at University College London. In this, I explore the role of community-based social enterprises and particularly the community assets that they own or manage in regeneration, linking this to debates about gentrification. I consider the challenges community organisations face when wishing to deliver community-led regeneration, including structural inequalities, particularly within the housing system, and recent policy changes, such as a decade of austerity, the ongoing impacts of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and the long-lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet, there are also opportunities to ‘build back better,’ with potential for greater justice in future. I will end by considering what else is needed for a sustainable, socially just recovery that enables community-based efforts to flourish.

There are many other exciting research project opportunities emerging at CaCHE and I look forward to working with colleagues during phase two across the key themes of inequalities, place (including planning and design), economy (including markets) and environment (with a focus on green retrofit).

The conference promises to be an exciting event, with opportunities to share findings and work towards a socially just recovery.

The housing crisis affects everyone, and we all have a role to play in ensuring a brighter future for all. I look forward to us all coming together at the HSA Conference 2023 to explore solutions and create a better tomorrow.


Date: March 28, 2023 4:58 pm


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