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The Politics of Social Housing in Britain

Jamileh Manoochehri

This book investigates the relationship between the dominant ideologies of British public life in the second half of the twentieth century and the quality of the social housing built during this period. The author compares award-winning housing projects from the 1960s and the 1980s, projects that represent two major milestones in the development of state-provided housing in Britain. Her detailed analysis looks beyond the superficial appearance of housing policy in these two contrasting periods and provides fascinating insights into the substance of the changes that took place. The book examines the influence of universalist and selectivist approaches to social housing and asks important questions about the connection between social values and government policy.


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Chapter 5 - Empirical Evidence 187


Chapter 5 Empirical Evidence Exemplar Housing Estates: 1945–1997 A number of underlying criteria have guided the selection of housing estates as exemplars of each period under study. The test cases are exam- ples of housing standards in the state sector (as the research field did not extend to the standards of housing produced in the private sector). The estates had been ‘vetted’ in some way for the acceptability of their stand- ards at the time of their construction. Housing projects produced by award-winning practices have been selected, in order to ensure that the comparison of standards in the dif ferent cases remained valid. These were projects designed by practices of similar calibre, with a proven professional and technical track record. They had shown that they could produce work that excelled within the orthodoxies of the time. Churchill Gardens, Lillington Street, Robin Hood Lane, Alton Estate, Rossetti Court, Hawksmoor site and Dover Court have been selected as examples of approved housing standards for each successive decade. They were built during periods when dif ferent standards were required of housing developments, as defined by the state. The comparison of space standards and amenity spaces in each helps to map changes in standards. Churchill Gardens, 1948–1962 Churchill Gardens was built on a bombed industrial area in Pimlico and covers a 33-acre site overlooking Battersea Power Station across the Thames. Known originally as the ‘Pimlico Housing Scheme’, it was part of 188 Chapter 5 an architectural competition conducted by Westminster City Council....

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