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Public housing, commodification, and rights to the city: the US and England compared

Fenton, Alex, Lupton, Ruth, Arrundale, Rachel and Tunstall, Rebecca (2012) Public housing, commodification, and rights to the city: the US and England compared. Cities. ISSN 0264-2751

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.cities.2012.10.004


In the past decade, England has not experienced the radical neglect and demolition of public housing that We Call These Projects Home describes happening in the United States. The English social housing sector has declined in size, primarily by sales to sitting tenants, but it remains a significant part of the housing system. Nonetheless, in London, we find that the progressive commodification of housing has contributed to the dispersion and suburbanisation of the urban poor over the 2000s, as the city as a whole prospered. As well as some demolition of inner-city housing estates, the increasing use of subsidised private renting has played a central role in this. We argue that in England, the boundary and relationship between state and market is an essential foundation to an analysis of ‘rights to the city’. This is because it both determines the actual proportion of housing allocated by market pricing (as opposed to rights or needs) and the spheres of decision where market logic (rather than claims to rights) prevails. Current changes to Housing Benefit exemplify the effects of privatisation on the socio-spatial organisation of the city.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Divisions: Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2012 16:22
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2024 23:12

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