University of St Andrews

ESRC Seminar Series Website Launched by the Centre for Housing Research

Friday 24 August 2012

The Centre for Housing Research at the University of St Andrews has launched the website for its new seminar series: "The Big Society, Localism and Housing Policy".

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the events will explore the impact of the coalition government’s localist ‘Big Society’ 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. Dr McKee, Principal Investigator on the project 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.”

Drawing on expertise from the Universities of St Andrews, Sheffield, Cardiff, and Queens University Belfast, these two-day interdisciplinary workshops will bring together perspectives from academia, policy and practice and will include speakers from beyond the UK:

  • Seminar 1: Localism and the Big Society: what do they mean for housing studies? (Sheffield, 7-8 March 2013)
  •  Seminar 2: Localism, Welfare Reform and Tenure Restructuring in the UK (Belfast, 24-25 October 2013)
  •  Seminar 3: The Big Society, Localism and the Future of Social Housing (St Andrews, 13-14 March 2014)

Registration for Seminar 1 will open in autumn 2012. For more details, or to register your interest, please contact the project administrator Dr Tom Moore, or follow us on Twitter (@housingseminars). Updates will also be posted on our website: