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High rise hope revisited: the social implications of upgrading large estates

Lane, Laura, Power, Anne and Provan, Bert (2014) High rise hope revisited: the social implications of upgrading large estates. CASEreports (85). Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London, UK.

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LSE researchers interviewed residents of the Edward Woods estate in west London between 2011 and 2014 during and after renovation works which included a major energy efficiency upgrade with residents in situ. This scheme was used as a model case study for how the Green Deal and Community Energy Saving Partnership (CESP) “whole building” approach could work in high-rise, socially rented estates. The estate comprises 754 flats in three towers and several lower blocks. The headline findings are from our second survey in 2014, after the retrofit works were finished. • There are high levels of deprivation on the estate and many residents are fuel poor, with previously very cold, uninsulated flats. Most community activity and engagement on the estate is of an informal nature although there is also an active Tenant and Resident Association (TRA). Residents are positive about the estate and their homes and generally feel safe living there, although slightly less safe in 2013-14 than in 2011 due to the reduction in concierge services. • Residents, particularly in the studio flats, have made the biggest cost savings since 2011. Average energy costs have gone down significantly for those in studios and have increased a little for those in one and two-bedroom flats – but far less than the increase in energy prices. Even in the one bedroom balcony flats, where insulation appears to have been least adequate, the rise in energy bills is far lower than the rise in energy prices. This means that overall energy use (i.e. units of energy consumed) has fallen over the retrofit. • Some residents remain unaware that the retrofit work was carried out to save energy and provide warmer homes. Community education needs to focus on how people can reduce their energy use in order to maximise the gains of increased insulation, etc. • A number of residents were disappointed about the level of internal refurbishment and redecoration to the communal areas that accompanied the works – people feel they were promised more than was delivered in the end. Although there was considerable consultation at the beginning of the project, more ongoing support would have improved wider understanding of the objectives of the regeneration and helped explain the many delays. • Concerns about the reduced concierge service dominate many people’s view of the changes on the estate. The visible presence of the concierge in the blocks was removed while the works were going on and had some impact on residents’ perception of safety. • The main suggestion from Edward Woods residents was for better management of the works – particularly around the timescale of the project which slipped many times over, and communications about the delays.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Author
Divisions: STICERD
Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2016 11:27
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 13:25

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