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Private greed, political negligence and housing policy after Grenfell

As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power to ignore, deflect and even silence those who speak out. The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to its residents.

Open Access (free)
Urban transformation and public health in future cities
Michael Keith and Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos

volume we have drawn together a series of contributions that address pressing issues of urban public health. Our starting points are twofold. The first is the recognition that in the twenty-first century the majority of the globe’s urban populations will live in cities. The cities of continents that are at the heart of this volume in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia demonstrate different trajectories of historical and contemporary urbanisation and futures of urban growth. The examples we have brought together from cities in Brazil, UK, China and Africa are

in Urban transformations and public health in the emergent city
Regeneration meets the Private Finance Initiative
Stuart Hodkinson

enthusiastically embraced PFI as the ‘cornerstone’ of its so-called ‘modernisation’ agenda for public services. It appointed Malcolm Bates, former Private Finance Panel member and then chairman of private insurer, Pearl Assurance, to review PFI, supported by the UK arm of the US accountancy firm Arthur Andersen. Bates’s recommendations led to the Private Finance Panel being replaced by a Treasury task force, divided into a policy arm run by civil servants and a projects section employing eight private sector executives led by Adrian Montague, a merchant banker from Dresdner

in Safe as houses
Open Access (free)
City DNA, public health and a new urban imaginary
Michael Keith and Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos

individual rights. It is also a space in which time is embedded in geographical practice (as Schwanen and Nixon discuss in Chapter 4 ). Public health systems always balance what is plausible in the immediate present with what might be possible in the near and distant future. These sorts of trade-off and the instabilities of complex systems are as true in cities of the global south as they are in the global north. In this sense health features prominently in ‘development policy’ in the cities of the global south that constitute an increasingly significant proportion of

in Urban transformations and public health in the emergent city
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Building a healthy spatial contract
Alex Schafran, Matthew Noah Smith and Stephen Hall

, ‘Developing or managing the poor: the complexities and contradictions of free basic electricity in South Africa (2000–2006)’, Africa Development 36.1 (2011), pp. 119–42. We do not imply that 50kWh is sufficient for an average household, but the point is that the basic provision argument is illustrated by this example. 6 Smart Systems and Heat programme: Phase 2 Summary of key insights and emerging capabilities , Energy Systems Catapult, Birmingham,

in The spatial contract
Making work pay
Sally Daly

intensification in the UK, Geddes and Scott (2010) suggest that the availability of a migrant workforce has acted as a de facto industry subsidy to keep food prices low and to avoid excessive reliance on imports. While the benefits to consumers are obvious, this has negative implications for workers. In an analysis of African immigrant employment in Spanish agriculture, Hoggart and Mendoza (1999) emphasise the uncertainty of farm work due to the lack of permanent contracts accompanied by low wages and poor working conditions. A brief profile of the horticultural labour force

in Spacing Ireland
Young people in migrant worker families in Ireland
Naomi Tyrrell

in Ireland has received attention in political circles and in the popular press due to a number of ‘moral panics’ concerning children’s education and socialisation (Ní Laoire et al., 2009) and, more recently, the economic recession. In times of economic uncertainty, immigration often is perceived as a threat and of concern to society. Recent research by Spencer, Ruhs, Anderson and Rogaly (2007) in a UK context suggests that migrant workers who migrate with children are more likely to intend to remain living in their host country, specifically because they are more

in Spacing Ireland
Liam Harney and Jane Wills

). Today the area is very different, having undergone major demographic change since around the 1970s, with waves of in- and out-migration fragmenting the community. The docks declined and thousands of people lost their jobs, devastating the local economy. Families that had lived in the area for generations left for better opportunities elsewhere, mainly moving to Essex and Kent. Newcomers arrived not just from South Asia, but Africa, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe, whilst new middle-class migrants arrived from Western Europe, the USA and other parts of the UK to work

in The power of pragmatism
Efrat Eizenberg

community gardens provided a personal salvation that was achieved by means of collaboration with others and for the benefit of many others more (Eizenberg, 2012a; Schmelzkopf, 1995). Since then, the idea has crossed oceans. The impressive bundle of benefits to human physical and psychological health, as well as to urban community life, might explain the surge of different forms of communal urban gardening during the last few decades on all five continents, including Asia and Africa. In some parts of the world, an old tradition was revived in the contemporary context and

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice
Concepts and practice
Lucy Rose Wright and Ross Fraser Young

chapter will provide a reading of political gardening literature, outlining rationales for ‘public’ engagement with UG.This informs a framework that maps the trajectories groups take in pursuit of spatial justice. We illustrated with UK case studies. The conclusion speculates a definition for political UG that reflects the process by which gardens ‘turn’ political.  The ­implication of this political ‘turn’ through process is the creation of active ‘democratised’ citizens who recognise injustice and hold a heightened awareness of rights. Neoliberal processes and

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice