Estate Regeneration and Its Discontents: Public Housing, Place and Inequality in London

Online - a link will be sent to you before the event
Thursday 20 May 2021 (12:00-13:30)
Paul Watt

The second of this new seminar series Where next for Public Housing? will feature speaker Professor Paul Watt from Birkbeck, University of London

This presentation is based on a recently published monograph – Estate Regeneration and Its Discontents: Public Housing, Place and Inequality in London (Policy Press, 2021). The book provides an in-depth account of the ways that public/social housing estate regeneration – in the form of demolition and rebuilding (‘comprehensive redevelopment’) – is reshaping London, fuelling socio-spatial inequalities via state-led gentrification. It is based on over a decade of original research at several estates, involving fieldwork, interviews with 180 residents (tenants and homeowners) and over 50 officials and politicians.

The first part of the presentation examines the shifting urban policy rationales for estate regeneration, including community-building (especially under New Labour) and densification. The second section of the talk focuses on the social process and results of comprehensive redevelopment by examining residents’ experiences of living through estate regeneration. It demonstrates the multiple ways that regeneration is experienced as physical, social, symbolic and psychosocial degeneration. The third section focuses on the aftermaths of regeneration and suggests that fragmented rather than mixed-communities are being created. The final part of the presentation offers various policy recommendations regarding public housing and estate regeneration.  

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About the speaker

Paul Watt is Professor of Urban Studies in the Department of Geography, Birkbeck, University of London. He has published widely on social housing, urban regeneration, homelessness, the London housing crisis, gentrification, suburbanization, and the 2012 Olympic Games. He is co-editor with Peer Smets of Social Housing and Urban Renewal: A Cross-National Perspective (Emerald, 2017), and co-editor with Phil Cohen of London 2012 and the Post-Olympics City: A Hollow Legacy? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). Paul is an Editorial Board member of City and Housing and Society.