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Social housing and anti-social behaviour: two sides of the welfare coin - Essay Example

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Social housing and anti-social behaviour: two sides of the welfare coin

The paper presents a long history of social housing in Britain, which could be traced back to the philanthropic houses associations and societies in Victorian times, like the Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes, set in 1841, and the Society for the Improvement of the Condition of the Labouring Classes, founded in 1844, with their early scheme – a block of model houses for families in Bloomsbury. Similar work had been undertaken by a number of other bodies, the most prominent of which were Sir Sydney Waterlow’s Improved Industrial Dwellings Co. and the Peabody Trust. One of the largest ‘model dwellings’ associations had been the Artisans’, Labourers’, and General Dwelling Co. ltd, which delivered its first building in 1868, and by 1900, provided dwellings for over 40 000. According to Lupton et al., social housing appeared more or less a scarce resource in the pre-Second World War period, as well as the better part of the 1950s, being built to relatively high standards and thus predominantly accessible to part of the working families. It was the post-war campaign, however, launched in order to tackle the acute housing shortage by that time and to provide better housing conditions to a greater portion of the population, which brought in a large-scale expansion of social housing. From the 1950s on, the high-volume housing building, mainly driven by slum clearance, replaced the emphasis on quality, which inevitably led to a lowering of standards and slipping status of social housing. (Tucker, 1966, cited in Lupton et al., 2009). According to Stone, for instance, the UK public housing of the 1960s, especially the inner-city public housing, continued to expand, typically in large estates of monolithic blocks of flats and of quite dubious quality design and construction (2003). It is noteworthy that these apparently necessity-driven solutions per se had altered the manifestation of urban problems – from spatial to community-bound respectively – insofar as the massive slum clearance and the alternative accommodation in different location, style, and community setting ultimately brought about a considerable community disturbance (Young and Wilmott, 1957). On the other hand, as Stone points out, the substantial increase of low-income and non-white families in such public housing is thought to have set a pattern of marginalisation and stigmatisation due to the congruence of social and physical configuration (2003). In the 1980s, the social housing in Britain made up a large proportion of all housing and accommodated a significantly diverse population, whether being considered in geographical or socioeconomic terms (Stone, 2003). The public confidence in local authorities had already been damaged due to poor policies and management, including inability to carry out basic repairs, along with the fact that tenants had never participated in the decision-making process but had to live with the consequences; widespread crime and vandalism just made the things worse thus adding up to a long list of problems (Shapely, 2008). Additionally, according to Stone, after the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme, which was introduced in 1980 under Margaret Thatcher and offered council tenants considerable financial discounts if they decided to buy their homes, much of the most desirable housing stock was ...Show more
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The overall aim of the research is to suggest starting points for further discussion that would explain the reasons behind certain manifestations of anti-social behaviour as connected with social housing, and would propose an adequate strategy for dealing with the issue as well. …
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