In a couple of weeks time I’ll be popping over to Atlanta, Georgia, to present a paper entitled Smart city developments in England: People, policy and politics at the Regional Studies Association 2nd North American Conference Cities and Regions: Managing Growth and Change (15th-17th June).
At the end of June I’ll be in Belfast with my housing hat on, to present a paper called Interpreting housing policy: are the Conservatives trying to kill social renting in England? at the European Network for Housing Research Annual Conference Governance Territory and Housing (28th June-1st July).
This is the thrust of what I’m going to be saying (at least as I’m thinking about it at the moment):
Abstract for the paper to ENHR2016
Scholarly interest in the politics of housing is increasing. Core social scientific questions – regarding, for example, the relative importance of social structure and individual agency in influencing policy and shaping social outcomes – are again being interrogated in the housing policy arena. Housing policy in England since the financial crisis has witnessed a period of considerable activity. It is possible to discern both continuity and change: intensification of established policy directions and clear policy reorientation. We are left asking whether the Government has abandoned housing policy in favour of a tenure strategy of home ownership promotion. It is not implausible to ask whether the Government has now put in place mechanisms that augur the death of social housing. This paper takes these policy developments as a starting point and explores the relevance of alternative theoretical accounts of the drivers of policy. To what extent do theoretical approaches working at different resolutions (from micro to macro), drawing on different analytical traditions, and invoking different constellations of explanatory variables have traction in explaining recent developments? The paper develops the argument that we should be wary of prematurely closing down theoretical options. Drawing on diverse resources – while seeking to avoid incautious claims to theoretical synthesis – offers the most promising route to illuminating contemporary housing policy developments.