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Safe and secure homes for all
Stuart Hodkinson

7 After Grenfell: safe and secure homes for all This book has presented compelling new evidence from outsourced public housing regeneration schemes under PFI to show that the Grenfell disaster of June 2017 was no accident. Rather, it was the inevitable outcome of a privatised, deregulated and unaccountable system of housing provision, developed over 40 years of neoliberal policies that fed the insatiable greed of private interests at the expense of resident safety. If Grenfell was a disaster foretold, not just by the residents but also by the long lineage of

in Safe as houses
Open Access (free)
Jenny Edkins

168 change and the politics of certainty 9 1 The Grenfell Tower fire The extraordinary always turns out to be an amplification of something in the works. – Lauren Berlant2 On 14 June 2017, in the early hours of the morning, a fire broke out in Grenfell Tower, a twenty-four-storey apartment block in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. It spread swiftly to engulf the whole tower in flames, trapping residents in their flats and defeating the efforts of the fire brigade to bring it under control. It burned for more than two days, leaving the

in Change and the politics of certainty
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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.

B. P. Grenfell
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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Grenfell and the return of ‘social murder’
Stuart Hodkinson

Introduction: Grenfell and the return of ‘social murder’ At around 12.54 a.m. on 14 June 2017, an exploding fridge freezer set fire to a flat on the fourth floor of Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey public housing block of flats in the west London borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Ten minutes later, firefighters were on the scene, handling what appeared to be a routine job – post-war high-rises like Grenfell had been designed to contain fires within separate flats and the residents had been told to ‘stay put’ rather than evacuate. But the fire did not behave as

in Safe as houses
Author: Jenny Edkins

Despite the imperative for change in a world of persistent inequality, racism, oppression and violence, difficulties arise once we try to bring about a transformation. As scholars, students and activists, we may want to change the world, but we are not separate, looking in, but rather part of the world ourselves. The book demonstrates that we are not in control: with all our academic rigour, we cannot know with certainty why the world is the way it is, or what impact our actions will have. It asks what we are to do, if this is the case, and engages with our desire to seek change. Chapters scrutinise the role of intellectuals, experts and activists in famine aid, the Iraq war, humanitarianism and intervention, traumatic memory, enforced disappearance, and the Grenfell Tower fire, and examine the fantasy of security, contemporary notions of time, space and materiality, and ideas of the human and sentience. Plays and films by Michael Frayn, Chris Marker and Patricio Guzmán are considered, and autobiographical narrative accounts probe the author’s life and background. The book argues that although we might need to traverse the fantasy of certainty and security, we do not need to give up on hope.

Stuart Hodkinson

until May 2006 for the refurbishment of the Chalcots Estate in Camden to finally begin under Partners for Improvement in Camden. Beyond the new bathrooms and kitchens, which were standard for Decent Homes work, the Chalcots scheme was in many ways a carbon copy of the Grenfell Tower refurbishment project (see introduction). There would be a new central heating and hot water system for tenants; the towers would have new insulated and waterproof roofs, insulated rain screen cladding, double-glazed self-cleaning aluminium windows, a video door entry system, and new

in Safe as houses
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The Myatts Field North PFI horror show
Stuart Hodkinson

discusses the betrayal of some of the homeowners who had been originally guaranteed a new home on the estate but were forced out. Before the SAH.indb 121 30/01/2019 12:44:54 122 Safe as houses conclusion, the chapter explains the safety defects discovered after the Grenfell fire. Promises, promises, promises As outlined in chapter 2, previous efforts by Lambeth to remodel and refurbish the MFN estate had run out of money by the early 2000s, leaving nearly two-thirds of the homes in need of repair and modernisation. The local authority had initially looked to

in Safe as houses
Stuart Hodkinson

. Exactly the same thing happened with regard to the official performance of KCTMO prior to the Grenfell fire, with KPIs each year matching or exceeding their targets. The KPIs are not just largely irrelevant but also easy to distort. Compliance is based on what is recorded in the contractor’s database, and there is no way of knowing if this is accurate. Residents frequently reported making repair requests that were never properly written down, followed up or dealt with, only to SAH.indb 166 30/01/2019 12:44:59 The accountability vacuum 167 be told by the call centre

in Safe as houses
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Music and the multicultural city
Caspar Melville

, have been brought within the realm of fixed and dominated space through their transformation into high-end residential, commercial and leisure zones, promising luxury living, innovation and, as the South China Morning Post put it in 2017, exceptional returns for Hong Kong investors.3 A grim symbol for the failed promise of London is the charred hulk of Grenfell Tower, the twenty-four-storey social housing block in west London that was engulfed in flames on 14 June 2017, leading to the death of seventy-one residents and the displacement of hundreds of others. Though

in It’s a London thing