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The Repoliticization of High-Rise Social Housing in the UK and the Classed Politics of Demolition

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This paper explores the politics behind high-rise housing and focuses on Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, as a case study to explore and understand the impact and consequences of sustained disinvestment in social housing. In recent decades there has been much investment on a global scale in high-rise living, while dominant narratives that surround the discussion of social housing in the UK has denigrated high-rise blocks and mobilized negative narratives about the tenants they house. Stigma and polarization often lead to what is seen as the only solution: demolition. However, the process of demolition is highly political, contextualized and highlights the classed nature of urban policy and of housing provision. This directly shapes the increasingly polarized landscapes of inequality which have become so pronounced in UK urban areas. The paper makes reference to the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London in 2017 and the case of the Red Roads flats demolition in Glasgow to highlight the wider issues within the politics of social housing, the impact and consequences of sustained disinvestment in social housing and the inequality experienced within the social and geographical landscape.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2018

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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