What Do We Know and What Should We Do About Housing? Is part of a new book series offering short, up-to-date overviews of key issues often misrepresented or simplified in the mainstream media. In this book, Rowland Atkinson and Keith Jacobs, established analysts of housing policy, claim that what we think we know about the housing crisis is wrong, and encourage readers to see the housing crisis as a result of the ‘property machine’ - a constellation of interests, actors and institutions made up of banks and developers, landlords, speculative investors, the majority of homeowners and real estate agencies. By taking aim at the ‘property machine’ and its opposition to the social and everyday needs of the majority of the population, the authors analyse some of the key social and economic forces and the broad range of policies that have shaped and responded to Britain’s housing crisis. Exposing the roots of key current problems such as homelessness, the lack of affordable housing, and insecurity in the private rental sector, and linking them to the choices made by successive governments to prioritise the interests of capital above social need. The authors conclude with a series of innovative proposals that they believe would help alleviate the UK’s housing crisis; improving conditions and tackling the inequalities that are so starkly expressed in relation to personal housing wealth. Allowing for the establishment of a fairer and more equal society and a more stable economic future. Series Editor: Professor Chris Grey, Royal Holloway, University of London
Chapter 3: what do we know?
what do we know?
One of the things we frequently encounter in relation to the housing situation today is the impression that if we could just increase the supply of housing then most problems would be ameliorated. Affordability and access to a decent home would be within greater reach. Intuitively many of us know this. But why do we know this issue so well? How have these particular messages filtered through so clearly? What many media stories and experts dwell on is the blockages that appear to get in the way of more efficient housing development and these are usually pinned on an inefficient state bureaucracy in the form of local authority planners and an overly tight regulation of land supply. ...