Social Housing and Urban Renewal: A Cross-National Perspective

Paul Watt
University of London, UK

Peer Smets
VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Product Details
15 Aug 2017
Emerald Publishing Limited
512 pages - 165 x 240mm
This book offers a cross-national perspective on contemporary urban renewal in relation to social rental housing. Social housing estates – as developed either by governments (public housing) or not-for-profit agencies – became a prominent feature of the 20th century urban landscape in Northern European cities, but also in North America and Australia. Many estates were built as part of earlier urban renewal, ‘slum clearance’ programs especially in the post-World War 2 heyday of the Keynesian welfare state. During the last three decades, however, Western governments have launched high-profile ‘new urban renewal’ programs whose aim has been to change the image and status of social housing estates away from being zones of concentrated poverty, crime and other social problems. This latest phase of urban renewal – often called ‘regeneration’ – has involved widespread demolition of social housing estates and their replacement with mixed-tenure housing developments in which poverty deconcentration, reduced territorial stigmatization, and social mixing of poor tenants and wealthy homeowners are explicit policy goals. 

Academic critical urbanists, as well as housing activists, have however queried this dominant policy narrative regarding contemporary urban renewal, preferring instead to regard it as a key part of neoliberal urban restructuring and state-led gentrification which generate new socio-spatial inequalities and insecurities through displacement and exclusion processes. This book examines this debate through original, in-depth case study research on the processes and impacts of urban renewal on social housing in European, U.S. and Australian cities. The book also looks beyond the Western urban heartlands of social housing to consider how renewal is occurring, and with what effects, in countries with historically limited social housing sectors such as Japan, Chile, Turkey and South Africa.
1. Introduction: Social Housing and Urban Renewal; Paul Watt 
2. Holding on to HOPE: Assessing Redevelopment of Boston’s Orchard Park Public Housing Project; Shomon Shamsuddin and Lawrence J. Vale  
3. “The Blue Bit, that was my Bedroom”: Rubble, Displacement and Regeneration in Inner-City London; Luna Glucksberg
4. Gentrification as Policy Goal or Unintended Outcome? Contested Meanings of Urban Renewal and Social Housing Reform in an Australian City; Lynda Cheshire 
5. Are Social Mix and Participation Compatible? Conflicts and Claims in Urban Renewal in France and England; Agnès Deboulet and Simone Abram 
6. Promoting Social Mix through Tenure Mix: Social Housing and Mega-Event Regeneration in Turin; Manuela Olanero and Irene Ponzo 
7. Tenure Mix against the Background of Social Polarization: Social Mixing of Moroccan-Dutch and Native-Born Dutch in Amsterdam East; Peer Smets 
8. Phased Out, Demolished and Privatized: Social Housing in an East German ‘Shrinking City’; Matthias Bernt 
9. Social Housing and Urban Renewal in Tokyo: From Post-War Reconstruction to the 2020 Olympic Games; Chikako Mori 
10. Territorial Stigmatization in Socially-Mixed Neighborhoods in Chicago and Santiago: A Comparison of Global-North and Global-South Urban Renewal Problems; Javier Ruiz-Tagle 
11. Caught Between the Market and Transformation: Urban Regeneration and the Provision of Low-Income Housing in Inner-City Johannesburg; Aidan Mosselson 
12. Social Housing, Urban Renewal, and Shifting Meanings of ‘Welfare State’ in Turkey: A Study of the Karapınar Renewal Project, Eskişehir; Cansu Civelek
13. The Inbetweeners: Living with Abandonment, Gentrification and Endless Urban ‘Renewal’ in Salford, UK; Andrew Wallace 
14. Conclusion; Peer Smets and Paul Watt
Paul Watt is Reader in Urban Studies at the Department of Geography, Birkbeck, University of London, UK. Recent publications include, Mobilities and Neighbourhood Belonging in Cities and Suburbs, co-edited with Peer Smets (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); and London 2012 and the Post-Olympics City: A Hollow Legacy?, co-edited with Phil Cohen (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).  

Peer Smets is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Recent publications include, Affordable Housing in the Urban Global South, co-edited with Jan Bredenoord and Paul Van Lindert (Earthscan/Routledge, 2014)

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