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The politics of high rise housing in Britain: local communities tackle mass housing

Dunleavy, Patrick ORCID: 0000-0002-2650-6398 (1978) The politics of high rise housing in Britain: local communities tackle mass housing. Doctoral thesis, University of Oxford.

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This research analyses an area of public housing construction .policy in Britain, the building of high rise flats (defined as those in blocks of five or more storeys). The national political process on the issue involved central government subsidy policy (which encouraged local authorities to build high until 1967), and the influence of the design professions, the construction industry and the national local government system on trends in high flat construction* The policy was largely confined to inner urban areas, where the operation of the 1947 planning system within an anachronistic local government structure forced local authorities to try to meet their housing needs in situ. High rise became characterized as a 'technological shortcut to social change* by production interests, and pursued despite its relative unpopularity and considerably greater costs. A weak structure of Ministry cost controls combined with the provision of strong subsidy incentives (both premiesed upon inaccurate expectations of local authorities'1 response), resulted in considerable over-building of high rise and a major change in the balance of public housing construction policy. Contractual pressure on local authorities and central government by large national construction firms can be seen as the basic dynamic of the high rise housing boom. The local level political process on high rise is examined in case studies of three widely differing areas - Newham, Birmingham and Bristol. The development of housing construction policies in these areas was essentially similar, and largely explicable in terms of non-local, structural influences, Explanations of policy change in terms of the system of actors in each locality proved inadequate, despite the importance of some distinctive local factors. Theoretically the study offers little support to pluralist or elite approaches. 'New Pluralist' theory emerges as descriptively accurate but normatively optimistic, and the neo-Marxist critique is found to have relevance at points.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1978 Patrick Dunleavy
Divisions: Government
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2017 13:27
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 09:29

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