The Repoliticisation of High-rise Social Housing in the UK and the Classed Politics of Demolition

Mooney, Gerry and McCall, Vikki (2018). The Repoliticisation of High-rise Social Housing in the UK and the Classed Politics of Demolition. Built Environment, 43(4) pp. 637–652.

Abstract

This paper explores the politics behind high-rise housing and focuses on Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, as a case study for exploring and understanding the impact and consequences of sustained disinvestment in social housing. There has been much investment in high-rise living in recent decades on a global scale, while dominant narratives that surround the discussion of social housing in the UK has denigrated high-rise blocks and mobilised negative narratives about the tenants they house. Stigma and polarisation often lead to what is seen as the only solution: demolition. However, the process of demolition is highly political, contextualised and highlights the classed nature of urban policy and of housing provision This directly shapes the increasingly polarised landscapes of inequality which have become so pronounced in UK urban areas. The paper makes reference to the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy in the UK and the case of the Red Roads flats demolition in Glasgow to highlight the wider issues within the politics of social housing, the impact and consequences of sustained disinvestment in social housing and the inequality experienced within the social and geographical landscape.

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