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Second homes, community and a hierarchy of dwelling

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The word ‘dwelling’, to dwell, supposes engagement, in the sense that those who dwell are seen to engage with others and, in doing so, contribute to social capital and cohesion expressed in the forming of ‘community’. Second home buying may be viewed as a course of action severing the process–product link between dwelling and community, as a brake on the community building process. In this paper, I contrast the view of dwelling as process – and its coupling with the ‘traditional’ place–community – with alternative notions of dwelling, and argue that the prevailing view is largely concerned with public and collective dwelling (and ‘productive interaction’), and underplays the importance of private dwelling, and hence the self-identity and orientation – key aspects of dwelling – that flow from the use of private property, including the use of second homes.

Keywords: England; community; dwelling; second homes

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: UCL Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, London WC1H 0QB, Email:

Publication date: March 1, 2007


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