The politics of housing

Power, consumers and urban culture

This book is concerned with the interaction of traditional politics, culture and voluntary groups, of local and national influences, of ideals and individuals. It looks at local government, social groups and housing policy in the twentieth century. Manchester is the focal point, providing the type of specific detail that only single-city studies can supply. Studying housing provides the most dynamic of all policy areas. The book is divided into three sections, providing it with a structure which highlights the overarching narrative and key themes. The first section looks at some of the main aspects of national policy and legislation across the twentieth century and how these were then interpreted by different local authorities. It shows that while central government provided a lead, encouraging a common approach, national policy was only ever generalised. Cities continued to produce policies specific to their own areas, highlighting the continuing importance of locality in studying the decision-making process. The second section examines the rise of municipal housing in Manchester, looking at the creation and influence of civic culture on the council. In contrast, although the third section considers the continuing influence of civic culture on policy after 1960, it also highlights the decline of municipal legitimacy from the late 1960s. It looks at how tenant frustration gave rise to angry outbursts and organised protests, leading to a challenge to council authority and forcing a change to the decision-making process.

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