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

introduction

introduction

One thing that we seem to know very clearly about housing is that something is very badly wrong with it. Whether it be its cost, its availability, its production or its suitability, housing is in a state of continuing crisis on so many different levels. The form of this crisis can be seen in the UK – in rising homelessness, overcrowding, squalor in the private rented sector, rising mortgage debts, beds in sheds, and inadequate rate of constructing new housing for those desperately in need of it. This much is clear, and most people, regardless of their personal politics, are able to see that a massive social need for stable, appropriate and affordable homes is not being met. Yet this crisis has been ...

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