University of St Andrews

McKee leads cross-national discussion on ‘The Big Society, Localism & Housing Policy’

Wednesday 09 May 2012

Dr Kim McKee of the Centre for Housing Research, St Andrews, together with prominent academics from leading UK Universities, has secured funding for a series of seminars to explore the impact of the coalition government’s localism agenda on housing policy across the UK.

Localism aims to shift decision-making downwards and empower local people to solve their own problems. However, in an era of restrained public spending, questions can be raised as to whether this may widen existing housing inequalities. 

Drawing on expertise from the University of St Andrews (Dr Kim McKee and Professor Duncan Maclennan), Queens University Belfast (Dr Jenny Muir), the University of Sheffield (Professor John Flint and Dr Ed Ferrari), and the University of Cardiff (Professor David Clapham), these interdisciplinary workshops will bring together perspectives from academia, policy and practice.

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Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, this project will establish a new international, cross-sector network to stimulate debate, discussion and future collaborations within this field. Dr McKee said:

“‘The Big Society’ and ‘Localism’ have become buzz words in policy and politics since the formation of the coalition government in 2010, and their influence can already be seen in housing policy and practice in the UK. This varies however depending on how devolved administrations and local authorities use their powers and budgets. Devolving power downwards may therefore lead to greater divergence in housing policy than we have seen under devolution so far. Understanding the varied geographical impact of these ideas is a key aim of the seminars.”

The opening seminar of the series will be held at the University of Sheffield in spring 2013. Further details, including confirmed dates and venues, will be advertised in due course.

For more information please contact the Principal Investigator: Dr Kim McKee.