Magoosh GRE

Slum Development in the 20th Century

| March 5, 2015

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction to the Study
Across the world it has been estimated that over 400 million people live in slums, with many of the larger cities in the developing nations having up to 1/3 of the population located in substandard slum housing without basic facilities (United Nations 2003) Slums, continue to be a problem in the 21st Century not just globally (Sclar et al 2005) but also within the UK (Sweeney 2010), despite a long history of slum clearance projects in this country. The history of slum clearance in the UK can be traced to the Victorian era (Malloy 2008) but became a particular focus of government in the 20th Century. Following the 1930’s Housing Act (the Greenwood Act) and the recognition that not enough was being done to alleviate the poor housing conditions of the working classes, the UK carried out a programme of slum clearance which lasted until the 1970’s (Pacione 2009). Huge amounts of sub-standard housing were demolished and replaced by new developments of council-owned housing (Hillier and Healey 2010).

However, despite the benefits of this programme, a number of criticisms were made, particularly that the clearance disrupted working class communities (Conway 1999; Pacione 2009). Today, in the UK, the slum clearance programme has been completed, and while there still exist families living in substandard accommodation, the problem is by no means as severe as in the early years of the 20th century when destruction of housing stock during the 1st World War led to overcrowded conditions, housing shortages, unsanitary living arrangements and poor housing conditions, particularly in inner city, working class areas. However, the problems associated with poor quality housing continued post the 1970’s, and a set of new problems associated with poor housing had emerged by the 1990’s. While poor quality housing in the UK does not meet the conditions laid out in the UN definition of slums, the worst housing estates continued to be marked by deprivation and unemployment (Daniels 2008). Population growth and a lack of investment in social housing, with existing stock in poor condition, had led to over-crowding and poor living conditions, neighbourhood decline and a marked division between rich and poor with areas of marked poverty and the attendant social problems (Lipton 2003). Attempts to address such poor housing conditions took a new focus, particularly with the 90’s ‘New Labour’ government and its focus upon social exclusion (Lund 2011), which aimed to widen the focus and examine the ways in which poor housing contributes to a range of social problems and makes social integration more difficult (Lee and Murie 1997).
Clearly, the issue of substandard housing in the UK continues to be an important one, and it is pertinent to ask why, despite nearly a century of concentrated effort, the problems of poor housing and the associated social exclusion mar life in the UK. The following dissertation attempts to address this issue by tracing the three main phases of slum clearance in the UK in the 20th century and beyond: 1930 to 1950, 1950 to 1970, and post 1970. The aim is not simply to look at what each phase involved, nor to examine the policies which drove these attempts, but rather to engage critically with the theories behind the policies and practical attempts to improve housing for the British public. The contemporary notion of social exclusion will be used to shape the discussion. This concept involves understanding poverty in a wider context, and understanding how conditions such as housing are related to poverty and social disenfranchisement more generally (Palmer 2011). The dissertation therefore asks:
of the theoretical models which have been influential in shaping UK government policy to urban renewal, which has been most successful in reducing social exclusion?
It is possible to question the value of such a study, given that even the poorest quality housing in the UK fails to qualify as ‘slum’ housing according to the UN definition. However, given that unacceptable living conditions continue, and given that the widening gap between rich and poor in the UK has created areas of sub-standard housing marked by social deprivation (Jones et al 2007), it is argued that this study is still relevant. The current government policies regarding housing and benefits, including the localism bill, and caps to housing benefit payments may force greater numbers of people into the private rented sector, where, it has been claimed, poor conditions are rife with fire hazards, severe damp and extreme disrepair (Pennycook 2011). Given this, it seems even more pertinent to examine which approach to housing and social exclusion is most effective.

1.2 Problem Statement and Research Objective
Urban renewal (slum clearance) within the UK can be divided into stages 1930-1950, 1950 to 1970, post 70’s, each stage characterised by different approaches, and each stage moulded by different policies and theories. Although the notion of ‘social exclusion’ is one which has come to prominence in the 90’s and later, and was embraced by the ‘New Labour’ administration within the UK (Hills and Stewart 2005), the aim of reducing social exclusion is one which can also be found in earlier attempts to improve living conditions through slum clearance. The notion has been broken down into key components: poverty, exclusion from the labour market, exclusion from important services, and exclusion from social relations (Gordon et al 2000), and these key components can be used to analyse not only recent policy and practice on urban renewal within the UK, but also earlier attempts to address problems associated with slums. The approach of each era, however, is marked by different theoretical approaches, which will be used to shape the current study. Which theoretical approach to slum clearance, and the more general objective of reducing social exclusion, is the most effective one?

This problem area leads to the definition of the following research question:

Which theoretical models influenced UK government approaches to urban renewal and slum clearance in the 20th Century, and of these models which has been most successful in reducing social exclusion?

This research question can be broken down into a number of further questions and can be used to provide a structure for the literature review:

Theories and Definitions:

• What is the nature of social exclusion?
• What is the nature of urban renewal? How does it differ / how is it similar to the notion of slum clearance?
• What is link between social exclusion and urban renewal?

Policy and Practice in Each of Three Key Periods
• What national policies characterised attempts to carry out urban renewal and reduce social exclusion in each of the three key periods?
• What theoretical models shaped policy?
• How did the policies translate into practice in each key period?

Comparison of theories and policies

• Which of the theories and policies identified above seem to be most effective in addressing issues of urban renewal, slum clearance and social exclusion?
1.3 Proposal Structure
The dissertation takes the form of an extended literature review and discussion, following a methodology section.

The methods used in this study were those appropriate to a secondary study, one in which the data used has been collected for other purposes, rather than for the study in question (Wrenn et al 2006). While primary research has a number of clear advantages, not least the ability to gather data that exactly fits the research questions and objectives, in this case it was felt that a critical analysis of the literature addressed a gap in existing research studies. Relevant databases, public records and journals were searched using relevant keywords and with clear exclusion and inclusion criteria set to find the most appropriate articles. These were used to find details of practice, policy and theory, and feed into the study.

The literature review / discussion divides into chapters. First, theories and definitions are considered. The nature of the concepts social exclusion and urban renewal are critically discussed, both in isolation and the links between them. This section will both set out the theoretical models and policy, and look at problems with the concepts. A subsequent section looks at policy and practice regarding slum clearance and urban renewal within the UK, by the three key periods identified above. This chapter also assesses each period in terms of the theories and definitions isolated at an earlier stage. Later chapters take a critical perspective, looking in detail at existing discussions of the most appropriate theories and aiming to critique the articles identified through the literature search and assess which theories are most appropriate to back slum clearance policy and reduce social exclusion.

Finally, a conclusion summarises the study, discusses any limitations of the work, and sets out some suggestions for future investigations.
2. Methodology
2.1 Research Philosophy, Approach, Strategy
This study assumes a broadly positivist approach to the area under investigation. That is, it follows a scientific model under which a set of research questions are investigated in order to provide answers, gathering evidence to support or refute the key ideas. It assumes that there is an objective world, and that this world exists independently of human experience. It also assumes that the researcher can come to understand this world through a process of investigation. In addition, the aim is to collect a wide body of research rather than look at one or two cases (Wilson 2010)
The contrasting research approach, that of interpretivism, is rejected. That is, the study rejects the idea that knowledge is subjective, and that enquiries should concern the meaning given to experience by people. Interpretivist approaches usually concentrate on the views of one or two subjects, and develop hypotheses after the research is carried out (Wilson 2010). This broad approach was adopted because the author wanted to make general claims about a wider world, claims which attempt to describe that world accurately, and which can be the subject of debate. The author hopes that the current study might lead to further, primary, research studies, and therefore assumes that reality can be known through the use of instruments including questionnaires (Blaxter et al 2006).
However, positivism is a wide label, covering many different approaches while sharing a set of broadly realist assumptions. The particular approach adopted within positivism is post-positivism. This shares the assumption of a knowable world, but acknowledges that this world is only imperfectly knowable, and seeks to find evidence to support theories rather than proving them conclusively. Knowledge is always mediated through the experience of a subject (Hesse-Biber and Leavy, 2010). The subject of this dissertation is both practical and theoretical, so the post-positivist approach was chosen as one with reference to a ‘real world’ but which acknowledges the importance of theoretical interpretations of that world.

The author had to select form a wide range of possible approaches to investigate the research topic. The main choice was between primary and secondary research. Primary research is when research is devised and carried out for the study in question: secondary research uses information which has already been collected in previous studies. Secondary research, although using previous research work, should add a new perspective on the existing information (Babbie 2010). Primary research can take a large range of different forms, each associated with a particular research approach: positivist approaches, for example, might use the experiment or questionnaire to gather data, while interpretivist studies might use action research or ethnographic techniques (Breakwell 2006). In this instance, a secondary study was selected. It was felt that there is a wealth of evidence from different sources about slum clearance, urban renewal and social exclusion, however that there are comparatively few studies which assess changes in policy and practice over the 20th century. There are also few studies which take a critical look at these historical changes, asking which policy, and theory upon which it was based, is most effective. It was felt, therefore, that a secondary study could add to the existing literature.

The study will take the form of a critical literature review, searching for and mapping the available and relevant research and assessing it critically in order to develop new perspectives on the subject matter. A critical perspective is adopted at three levels. First, at the individual level, articles and sources are subject to a number of questions including:
• What is the scope of the study?
• What is the research area, topic or problem?
• What theories or models are used?
• What is the conclusion drawn?
• Is the methodology appropriate?
• Do the conclusions follow from the argument presented? (Hartas 2010)

Then, a process of analysis and synthesis draws out wider themes, relates the literature discussed to a broader context, and sees issues emerge from specific detail. Finally, a cohesive argument is developed (Hartas 2010). This critical perspective is used to generate an analysis of policy, past and present. This analysis is guided by the model proposed by Stokey and Zechhauser (1978). While designed as an instrument to generate current policy, it was felt that the model is also useful to shape a review of policy past and present. Under this model, the analysis of urban renewal in the UK has a number of sequential stages as follows:

1. Determination of the problem and context
2. Identify objectives and alternatives means of addressing this problem
3. Look at the consequences of each alternative
4. Assess the value of each of the sets of outcomes
5. Select between the alternatives
2.2 Data Collection and Analysis

The literature search was carried out using electronic databases accessed through the author’s university library online catalogue, through the university library, and also by online searches for relevant public policy documents. The research sections of public bodies, for example were searched for useful content, as well as those of charities in the housing or poverty sector such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Databases used included Google Scholar, Academic Search Premier, The Arts and Humanities Citation Index, ESCOhost, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, Ingenta Connect, JSTOR and Sage Journals Online. In addition, where relevant articles were found, the reference lists of these were scanned to find other relevant information. A set of key words were used to define the search, both in isolation and in conjunction. These included:

Slums, slum clearance, slums in the UK, UK housing policy, urban regeneration, UK, urban renewal, poverty, housing, sub-standard housing, social exclusion, social inclusion

There was no attempt made to restrict articles to ones written in the last 10 years, for example, as this is a historical study taking a wide view of housing policy and practice over a number of years. However, studies were limited to those carried out in the UK, except where it was clear that they had wider import. Articles, reports and textbooks written in languages other than English were not included.

Abstracts, summaries, and executive summaries of the texts retrieved were scanned to determine relevance to the topic of concern.

2.3 Access, Reliability, Validity, Generalisability

There were no issues regarding access to data. Although some journals were not available through university library subscription, there were many other relevant journals available to search. As the research study used secondary data only, none of the problems of access to research subjects, for example skewing sample, confidentiality and so on, were encountered.
The research has to be both valid and reliable. Validity is normally defined as “the extent to which a scale of measurement is capable of measuring what it is supposed to be measuring”, and reliability “the extent to which a scale of measurement delivers consistent results” (Webb 2002, p. 148). While the concepts seem particularly applicable to primary research studies gathering quantitative data, it is possible to widen their scope to other forms of research. Ritchie and Lewis (2003) suggest that reliability can be seen as sustainability, and valid research as that which is well grounded. These broader understandings are be those embraced by the current study. Validity was ensured by selecting the most appropriate research strategy, data collection and data analysis methods (described above) for
the study, while reliability was achieved by transparency of methods.

2.4 Ethical Issues, Research Limitations.
As there was no primary research phase in this study, and hence human subjects were not included directly, there was less need to consider ethical considerations. However, the author attempted to ensure that results were reported in an unbiased manner, and also avoided plagiarism by citing all references and using direct quotes where appropriate.
There are clear limitations to the research. As it does not include primary data, it was limited to existing research. A primary study would have allowed collection of data tailored to answer the research question. However, it was felt that a secondary literature review was the most appropriate in this instance, as much of the topic of interest involved historical data, which cannot be investigated by experiment or other primary data collection methods. Another limitation is that the study is confined to the UK. A study looking at slum clearance elsewhere in Europe or globally would allow comparisons to be made with the UK case, and a broader picture to be obtained. Time constraints meant a study of this scope was ruled out, but this could be the subject of further investigations at a later date.

3. Theories and Definitions
3.1 What is the Nature of Social Exclusion?

Although often used, the concept of social exclusion eludes a simple definition. An influential explanation was proposed by Burchardt et al (1999). Under this, an individual is said to be socially excluded if he or she is resident in a society, but is prevented from fully participating in activities available in that society for reasons outside his or her control. This definition, however, is very general. It also fails to make it clear whether an individual who chooses not to take part in society is excluded or not. Other attempts to define the concept try to link the notion to indicators including poverty, unemployment, lack of skills, poor housing, high crime, poor health and the breakdown of family (Social Exculsion Unit 2001)

One way to address the breadth of definitions of ‘social exclusion’ is to divide the various definitions by approach. Levitas (2000) for example provides a three-part model of definitions in terms of their predominant discourse. Definitions with a ‘redistributionist’ discourse see poverty as the main cause of social exclusion, and additionally assume it to be multidimensional and dynamic. Poverty in turn is caused by discrimination and exclusion (Hynes 2011), which seems to introduce a circularity of causal explanation into this model. Redistributionist perspectives can be found in the critical social policy agenda of the late 20th Century (Boardman 2010). ‘Moral Underclass’ discourses see social exclusion as the fault of individuals, who lack moral fibre and fail to take responsibility. In these discourses social exclusion causes problems for social order. This notion is linked to the New Right concept of the Underclass (Boardman 2010). Finally, ‘Social Integrationalist’ discourses explain social exclusion as a function of unemployment, and assume that integration into society is possible through work (Hynes 2011).

Despite differences in approach, concepts of social exclusion seem to have three factors in common. First, social exclusion is relative to the context, and differs from situation to situation. Second, there is some agent responsible for excluding the individual or group, although explanations of who are what the agent are differ. Third, the concept is dynamic. Exclusion takes place over long periods of time, changes in nature, and is multi-faceted. (Atkinson 1998).
3.2 What is the Nature of Urban Renewal and Slum Clearance?
The notion of slum clearance is dependent on the definition of a ‘slum’. There is a clear intuitive notion of the meaning of the word slum: as Gilbert explains:

“Today, the noun ‘slum’ is employed in popular usage to describe ‘bad’ shelter. It is used at varying scales: anything from a house to a large settlement can be classified as a slum providing that it is perceived to be substandard and is occupied by the poor” (Gilbert 2007, p. 697)

The popular definition often also involves the idea that the shelter is overcrowded, lacks basic services including water, refuse collection and lighting, and also lacks communal social areas and facilities such as schools and health clinics (Gilbert 2007). Most definitions of the term emphasise two elements, the physical (condition of the houses) and the social (the impact for residents) (Friedman 1978). However, definitions of the word differ from country to country, despite efforts to create global definitions and measures. The UN, for example, have attempted to propose a definition of a slum as a shelter which lacks access to drinking water and sanitation, is poorly built, overcrowded and insecure (UN-Habitat 2003, p. 12). The UN definition seems to accord with the popular idea of what a slum is, outlined above, although seems to unduly emphasise the physical aspect over the social. The Victorian definition of the term included the notions of poverty, poor quality buildings, overcrowding and disease, but added a moral note, finding slums characterised by vice and low moral standards (Davis 2006).

This definition will be assumed in the following dissertation. However, it should be noted that there exists some debate about the nature of slums. Some question, for example the overly physical characteristics of the UN definition of slums. Others have suggested that slums should rather be defined as a function of modern day capitalisation and globalisation, with a labour force exceeding the supply of jobs (Davis 2006), or that they are marked by an informality of regulation or illegality which is created by capitalism. By marking informality as a deviation from the norm, slums are stigmatised (Roy and AlSayyad 2004). Others see illegal housing and squats as housing which is affordable for the poor (Turner 1972), and hence seek to overturn the negative associations of the word ‘slum’. While views such as these undoubtedly make a good point about the relationships between our notion of ‘slum’ and those of modern value and economic systems, they do seem to overlook the extent to which areas designated ‘slums’ are, over-ridingly, unpleasant and overcrowded places which lack the amenities considered to be necessary for healthy and happy life. One further problem with assuming the above definition is that it seems to exclude most current UK housing from the definition, despite acknowledgement that the housing is sub-standard, and contributes to social exclusion.

Definitions of urban renewal/regeneration are also hard to pin down, and also rely upon a notion of ‘urban’. While this is open to discussion, it is generally taken to mean ‘pertaining to cities or towns’. Some use the terms ‘renewal’, ‘regeneration’, ‘revitalisation’ and ‘renaissance’ interchangeably, although they display subtle differences (Tallon 2009). The 50’s saw an emphasis upon the need to address the physicality of blight and dilapidation, with a gradual move to encompass more cultural and sociological notions (Friedman 1978). One way of seeing the relationship between the early slum clearance programme and later urban renewal initiatives is through this filter. The motivation for slum clearance focused upon physical change, while urban regeneration embraces the need to address broader issues. (Tallon 2009). Within the UK, the notion is bound up with urban policy in general. In the 60’s, the term was largely driven by the public sector, but by the 80’s the private sector were heavily involved as partners. Since the New Labour attempts in the late 90’s to address a broader context surrounding poor housing, ‘urban renewal’ has been closely associated with a wider range of social and cultural issues, including that of social exclusion. The concept of social exclusion was refined by number of influential theorists, for example Gaffron et al (2001) and Burchardt et al (2002). It was based on the idea that if certain groups of society are excluded the overall unity of the state is under threat. It replaced notion of social disadvantage with a more dynamic and holistic approach, and with less of a focus upon income (Spicker 1998). It was embraced from the mid 90’s by the New Labour government, as part of a realisation that the problems of poverty, including poor housing, needed to be understood in a wider context. However, there are problems with the definition, not least the lack of a clear picture of what people are excluded from (Wixey et al 2005). While there is broad agreement that attempts to address poor housing need to be seen in a wider context, and look at the need to enable people to take a full part in society, there is substantial disagreement about the details. For example, Foley (1999) defines social exclusion as being primarily about lack of income, with lack of power and lack of dignity as other factors. Burchardt et al’s (1999) definition suggests social exclusion occurs when someone is physically resident in an area but cannot take part in the activities other citizens do. Philo (2000) also highlights the way in which individuals are prevented from taking part in normal activities, while Pearce (2001) suggests that socially excluded individuals not only lack the means to take part in activities open to others, but also fail to agree with the generally accepted means. Only the Social Exclusion Unit (2001) explicitly mention poor housing as part of social exclusion (Wixey et al 2005).
3.3 How are Social Exclusion and Urban Renewal Linked?
As mentioned above, few explicitly link the concept of poor housing into the definition of social exclusion. However, the link is one which preoccupied the 90’s New Labour Government. Social exclusion can be linked to housing in different ways. Poorer people are directed towards local authority or housing association owned social housing, and there is evidence that this is increasingly poor in standard and has been so since the 1970’s. Some people (for example young, single people without dependents) are even excluded from council housing. In addition, poorer people are excluded from owner-occupancy, which leads to social polarisation (Balchin and Rhodes 2002). Social exclusion is also “seen as a local phenomenon appearing in a specific place” for example individual estates, which also highlights the link with a need for urban renewal (Uguris, 2004)

Poor housing and environment were one of the key factors isolated by the Social Exclusion Unit in 2001 as key to tackling social exclusion. The Social Exclusion Unit was set up to address problems of poor quality housing and homelessness, with the awareness that on the worst UK estates issues of housing were in a complex relationship with a range of other factors including poor health, lack of employment and training, high levels of crime, breakdown in community links, and poor transport (Hill, 2003).

In summary, social exclusion is clearly linked to living conditions, but the exact nature of the link is debated.

3.4 Theoretical Models of Slum Clearance, Urban Renewal, Social Exclusion
Writing of the UK situation, Roberts and Sykes provide a useful summary of developments within urban planning. They distinguish five phases, each occupying a decade in time since the 50s: Reconstruction (1950’s), Revitalisation (1960’s), Renewal (1970’s), Redevelopment (1980’s) and Regeneration (1990s). The following table (table 2) summarises the main features of these:


Taking a wider perspective, policy about renewal and regeneration can be seen as a function of the relationship between theory and institutional response Within the UK and US, for example, three theories of urban decline have supported urban policy, change from policy depends on how successful or not each is in changing the situation which provoked action. These models can also be traced in the urban planning phases in table two.
The three models which characterise post-war UK and USA policy and practice are: UK and US has seen three models influencing urban policy:

• Environmental Determinism
• ‘Cycles of Disadvantage’ thesis
• Structural analysis (Coleman 1985)

Environmental Determinism, broadly, is the idea that human life is controlled by the environment and can be explained in physical terms. Culture, society and psychology are all influenced by the environment and habitat (Alexander and Fairbridge 1999). The theory is rooted in social reform movements from Victorian era, garden cities movement, and modernism. Central premise is that “control and manipulation of the physical environment had a direct and determinate effect on social behaviour” (Carey 1990 [online]). This approach characterised the widespread slum clearances of the 50’s and 60’s in the UK, seeing demolition of derelict housing, large system built social housing and moves to estates on the peripheries of cities. This approach makes the physical nature of housing most important. Although widely criticised, Environmental Determinism left a lasting legacy simply because the estates are still in existence. Some suggest (Coleman 1985) that anti-social behaviour is direct result of inadequate design of council estates incorporating features such as deck access, or the circulation patterns created by estates (Law and Sawyers 1988). It has been criticised for concentrating on physical at the expense of residents, for failing to take account of differences between social groups, and for nor taking account of the need for management and maintenance of housing. It was recognised early that the happiness of residents relates not to the design or space or housing but how the estate was looked after (DOE 1972). Despite such criticisms, the attraction to such theories remained strong because they are simple and offer solutions to difficult issues (Coleman 1985).

Because the environmental approach had flaws, it was gradually replaced by a less simple approach involving an understanding of urban problems in terms of cycles of social and economic disadvantage, stating that residents found it hard to break out of the problems which engulf them (Coleman 1985). Cycle of Disadvantage theories, also known as ‘Cycle of Deprivation’ theories, suggest that social exclusion, rather than being a consequence of environment, is passed from generation to generation (Moss 2002). Such theories originated in the USA with the ‘Chicago School’ of sociology, for example Park, Burgess, Shevky and Bell. Cycle of disadvantage / deprivation theories were championed in the UK in the early 70’s by the Conservative Secretary of State for Education, Keith Joseph, who held that there was a need to change the mind-set of the working class poor to stop disadvantage passing to subsequent generations (Gillies 2007). UK programmes included Housing Action Areas, General Improvement Areas and Educational Priority Neighbourhoods. The theory was also enthusiastically taken up in the USA, where it led to a number of programmes including the Community Action Programs and Model Cities Program, and the development of the Office of Economic Opportunity. In practice the theory did not deliver the results that might be hoped for. In addition, it was criticised because the social indicators used were unable to adequately define areas of deprivation, because the criteria of definition left the bulk of the poor outside the defined areas, and for the possibility that resources would be directed to the wrong people. The theory was also criticised because of its local rather than national approach (Coleman 1985).

The third approach is structural analysis and adjustment. This recognises the role of global forces on local poverty, and the extent to which areas are subject to forces outside of their control (Coleman 1985). In an increasingly global world, with the breakdown of barriers between nations, it is increasingly hard to see problems as isolated in one small area (Jenkins et al 2007), for example with decisions about jobs made by factory owners in another country. International forces include the economic, business and financial, the role of underdeveloped countries competing for resources. The oil crisis in 1973 also made people realise the extent to which UK and other nations are effected by events world wide (Coleman 1985).

However, the three theoretical approaches discussed above were formulated in the early and mid 20th century, and things have since moved on. During the 90’s a new approach started, with an aim to co-ordinate different types of intervention with a ‘spatially concentrated, functionally integrated approach”. There was debate in the 90’s and 21st century about the rationale for area-based interventions, with some arguing that direct intervention into local neighbourhoods is essential to combat poverty through resident empowerment and improving employment opportunities (Vranken et al 2003) with others arguing against this, suggesting that local approaches merely displace issues to different neighbourhoods, and that interventions rather need to target multiple neighbourhoods (Nodus 2010, p. 25) Other debates concern the desirability of social mixing: what should the social breakdown in urban areas be? Some argue that there should be a mix of rich and poor for regeneration to take place, while others say this does not wrok, with problems developing communication between the different social groups (Musterd and Ostendorf (2008; (Nodus 2010). While debate of this nature in the 90’s might seem rather piece-meal, a more rigourous model can be used to understand social exclusion and its relation to housing. This is regime theory, suggested by Esping-Andersen (1990). Simply, it suggests that decisions impacting upon public life are made as a result of relationships negotiated between different partners in the public and private sector (Koebel 1998). Esping-Andersen suggested that relationships between state, market and family can be used to understand welfare arrangements in society, rather than one-dimensional constructs. He also suggested that three types of welfare state exist, the liberal, the conservative-corporativist, and the social-democratic state. His view that the provision of welfare is a function of multiple contributions has been highly influential, and can be traced in the discussion of later policies below. However, Esping-Andersen did not explicitly discuss housing as part of the model, and as housing is provided to a significant extent by the private sector it is problematic to fit into the model. It has been suggested, however, that housing can be incorporated into the model contingently, and thus that “housing outcomes… are likely to be strongly influenced by … levels of poverty and inequality” which are in turn a function of welfare regimes in operation (Stephens and Fitzpatrick 2007). However, housing offers a special case in any model of the welfare state, as private sector involvement is much higher than in other areas such as education, health and the provision of social security. This means that housing is particularly subject to the interests of the private sector and market, and such has a distinct power balance in the regime (Kemeny 2006).
Overall, the influence of all these theories can be traced through policy and practice in Europe and the USA, with early spend on physical renewal of the environment giving way to an approach focusing upon the transmission of poverty from generation to generation, and subsequently taking global and structural factors into account. The experience in the UK does seem to have shown that the main approaches identified above have been influential at various periods from the 1930’s to the end of the 20th Century. The link between UK practice and these policies will be discussed in more depth below.

4. Policy and Practice in Each of Three Key Periods
Above, a number of theoretical models which link slum clearance, urban renewal and social exclusion were identified. First, a period-by-period model suggested that different approaches characterised each period of post-war housing planning and development in the UK. The following examination will show that this model, developed by Roberts and Sykes (2000) is broadly applicable. However, other models are also relevant. These were described above. To summarise, a model of economic determinism was predominant in the 1950’s to 70’s, and was succeeded by a ‘cycle of disadvantage’ model in the 80’s. Structural analysis, which highlights the role of global forces, has been perhaps less influential, but regime theory can be used to understand attempts during the 90’s and first decade of the 21st Century to address housing and social exclusion. These models will be used during the following chapter, to address the research questions:
• What national policies characterised attempts to carry out urban renewal and reduce social exclusion in each of the three key periods?
• What theoretical models shaped policy?
• How did the policies translate into practice in each key period?

4.1 Overview
Slums were a feature of social and economic change in the UK. The existence of slums predates the most wide-spread attempts to deal with them from the 1950’s onwards. The 19th century saw a transformation in the working environment in the country. As the Industrial Revolution took hold, people flocked from the countryside to new cities. Living conditions in the cities were poor, and by the mid 19th Century this had come to the attention of the authorities. Between 1851 and 1903 no less than 28 Acts of Parliament to do with Housing and Health had been passed, concerned to improve conditions of living and set standards for accommodation. However, by the early years of the 20th Century it was estimated that there was a housing shortage of at least ½ million (McKay and Cox 1979). The First World War exacerbated this situation, as house building ceased and rents increased. Between the wars there was some attempt to build more public housing. Previously only small numbers of such accommodation had been built by local authorities, primarily in Liverpool and London (McKay and Cox 1979). During this period, the UK led the world in slum clearance: other countries relied upon piecemeal efforts by private enterprise, and did not have nationally organised programmes like the UK one (Headey 1978). During this period, the focus was clearly an environmentally deterministic one, with efforts concentrated solely upon physical improvements, although these also were associated with moral degeneracy of slum dwellers (Davis 2006).
4.1 1930-1950

The main programme of UK slum clearance divide into clear stages. The first stage, from 1930 to 1950 or so, was initiated by the 1930 Housing Act, introduced by the Labour Government, and designed to address the problem of housing unfit for habitation by allocating subsidies to local authorities (Lund 2011). Despite Acts passed in 1919 and 1923, which offered Local Authorities funding to clear slums, hardly any urban renewal had taken place before this. The 1930’s Act aimed to reverse the overcrowding and poverty linked to the slums, and stipulated that Local Authorities had to create and submit a 5 year plan setting out their strategy for slum clearance (McCay and Cox 1979). Despite a change of government in 1931, this programme continued, with new laws introduced throughout the 1930’s. The Key programme of the 30’s set out in Housing (Financial Provisions) Act 1933. It was motivated by a desire to save money through cutting public spending and housing subsidies. This period saw a limited public clearance programme and an expansion of private sector through mortgage loans. However, there was some confusion about what exactly should be done apart from the slum clearance programme, and there was no attempt to address issues of over-dense housing. One unforeseen consequence was that slums continued, but were separated from other types of housing (Yelling 1992). The tension between private and government in the provision of welfare highlighted in regime theory can be seen in the tension in the 30’s between those who argued that housing should be included in the political agenda and those who argued otherwise. However, the focus at this time is still heavily upon changing the physical environment by demolition and building. The main debate at this time was between whether new building or reconditioning of the old stock should be the focus of policy. An attempt to improve this bill clarification was made in the 1935 Housing Act, which set out a relationship between slum clearance and redevelopment. The main debate at this time was between whether new building or reconditioning of the old stock should be the focus of policy (Yelling 1992).

By 1940, approximately 273,000 houses had been demolished as part of slum clearance programmes (McKay and Cox 1979). The programme was interrupted by the war, when few houses were built, and much housing, especially in urban areas was destroyed. However, there was a growing awareness of the importance of decent quality housing during the 40’s. This was seen in part as a way of rewarding the people for their efforts during the war. The concentration on improving the physical living conditions of the poor started to give way to a recognition that housing is also about improving social and cultural life (Lewis 2004). This should not be taken as an early rejection of environmental determinism, however, but rather a confirmation of it. There was still a concentration on the physicality of dwellings: rather, the extent to which poor living conditions can impact on social conditions was starting to be recognised by the Housing Act 1949. In the Act, the Labour government made provisions for a programme of building of housing by the Local Authorities, designed for all, not just the working classes (Hill 2003).
4.2 1950-1970
The next stage of urban renewal in the UK took place between the 1950’s and 1970’s. Even in the 1950’s people still lived in very poor slum conditions, in houses without running water or bathrooms, with decomposing plaster, holes in the ceilings and floors, and outside toilets. Many houses were dark, and residents were overcrowded. Others were infested with rats, mice or insects. Even in 1956 the Royal Society of Health were told that half of the housing stock in Greater Manchester was unfit for repair (Shapely 2007) The 50’s marked the start of the largest scale programme for slum clearance the UK has seen (Cullingworth and Nadin 2002). Part of the rationale for this was the increase in UK population through more births and commonwealth and other immigration (Dimitriou and Thompson 2007). This large-scale programme of slum clearance lasted throughout the 1950’s to the 1970s, and gathered pace in the mid 50’s. It saw the UK’s inner cities transformed by a programme of public housing development (Beer et al 2011).

The government estimated in 1955 that there were still 850,000 slum dwellings in the UK, but this seems likely to have been an underestimation: by the late 1970’s 1.5 houses had been destroyed or emptied, with nearly 4 million people relocated (Pacione 2009). Table 1 sums up the statistics on UK house clearance throughout the first two periods.moved

While there were many problems with the clearance programme, there were also many successes. As Pacione comments:

this was a remarkable quantitative achievement, and there is no doubt that the slum clearance and redevelopment programmes provided a superior housing and residential environment for most families (Pacione 2009, p. 232)

However, there were many problems with the programme, which will now be discussed in detail. These started to be recognised fairly early: by the 50’s sociologists began to study the impact of urban renewal programmes upon residents, finding a tendency towards authoritarianism and an inhuman scale (Klemek 2011). Overall, there were problems of scale and timing with the 1950’s to 1970’s programme, and they also had a negative impact on existing communities, placing stress on residents (Pacione 2009)

One problem which occurred is known as ‘planning blight’ National policies required Local Authorities to meet targets for demolishing buildings, but the extent to which this would physically impact on the local community was underestimated (Power 1993). The clearance programme took quite a long period of time, for example it typically took two years for a compulsory purchase order to be obtained, and another two years for the residents to be rehoused. In addition, cuts to national funding led to further delays, as did problems with local government co-ordination of schemes (Pacione 2009) Landlords were subject to compulsory purchase orders which were frequently contested in court, leading to further delays (Power 1993). Capacity to rebuild was also lower than need. During this time, repair work on the old housing stock nearly ceased, and by the time residents moved out their homes and immediate areas were in much worse condition than they were initially. In many areas councils bought back the vacated housing stock, and frequently these would become squatted or vandalised, making the living conditions for those remaining even worse (Pacione 2009).

Across the UK there were areas of semi-derelict streets, half abandoned by residents. Areas were also marked by demolition sites and building works, and shops and local businesses were also closed either as part of clearance programmes or because the resident population could no longer support them (Power 1993).

Problems with the look of the area and local services were matched by social problems. The 50’s to 70’s programme of slum clearance was marked by an ‘insensitivity to community concerns’ (Cullingworth and Nadin 2002, p. 25). The delays to the clearance programme, discussed above, meant that people had to wait a long time before relocating to their new neighbourhoods. As well as the negative consequences for the physical environment, social networks were also damaged. As people left their familiar neighbourhoods, communities were disrupted and people felt more isolated. They also felt insecure as they were unsure what the future held for them, in terms of where and when they would be moving. This social breakdown was exacerbated by a lack of communication between local and national authorities and residents (Pacione 2009). This hit the poorest residents hardest, with a “breaking apart and displacement of working class communities” (Tallon 2009, p. 36).

In addition to issues facing those waiting to move, there were also problems with the new estates upon which they were frequently housed. Often, the council estates and high-rises into which people were re-housed were not well thought out. Planning was poor, and the overall result was a lack of community and infrastructure with poor local schools, poor environment, no cultural or shopping facilities and lack of resident choice (Hardill et al 2001). One problem was location: people were mostly moved to large council estates on the edge of cities. These ‘overspill’ estates tended to be situated a long way from the facilities needed, with poor public transport links and no local infrastructure to compensate for the difficulty of travelling into the city (Cullingworth and Nadin 2002)

As well as problems with location and facilities, there were also a number of problems with the new housing supplied for the residents, marked by “the inadequate character of some redevelopment schemes” (Cullingworth and Nadin 2002, p. 25) For example, and particularly in the 60’s, there was a move from better quality low-level housing to using high rise housing as a cheap and quick solution to slum clearance. In the 50’s, the early part of the redevelopment programme in the 1950’s had seen an emphasis of lower density housing with adequate special provision for resident needs (Tallon 2009). Schemes were influenced by utopian ideas about housing like the ‘Garden Cities’, an idea originally proposed in the late 19th Century by Howard, who envisaged small cities offering housing, employment and leisure facilities, with plenty of green space and parks, and the option for agriculture and self-sufficiency (Fook and Chen 2010). Attempts to realise the dream have been attempted in the UK since the early 20th Century, for example with Letchworth Garden City, planned in 1904 (Whitehand and Carr 2001), and the movement was influential in designing social housing (Power 1993), as Howard had envisaged the Garden Cities on as strong communities providing a range of housing including low-cost, affordable housing for workers (Gurran 2007) While early schemes tried to incorporate spacious housing and low density estates and were influenced by utopian ideals such as the Garden Cities, by the 1960’s urban areas had practically used up all the available land for building of this nature. This led to the development of high rise blocks (Tallon 2009). There was also a social move towards modernism in the 60’s, which influenced the take up of designs for high rise housing which had been about since the 40’s.

There was a desire on the part of government to sweep away the old and bring in the welfare state providing for the needs of citizens. The government started to put considerable pressure on local authorities to build more quickly and cheaply, to house the vast numbers of UK residents still living in slums, and both Conservative and Labour promoted tower block and system built designs as “offering a quick and affordable solution to the continuing problems of inner-city slums (Shapely 2007, p. 161) The ground had been laid by the Housing Subsidies Act in 1956, which offered subsidies to Local Authorities building housing of 5 stories or more, despite the higher costs of maintaining developments like these (Jones and Murie 2006). High rises offered many short term opportunities for time and cost savings, including bulk buying of materials, possibilities for standardisation of design, construction, methods and equipment, and the use of unskilled and semi skilled labour (Shapely 2007). However, the social consequences of living in tall buildings was hardly understood at the time of construction. These included the isolation from other residents, the lack of visual awareness of what is going on in the community at ground level, vandalism, and lack of amenities. In addition, there are severe technical issues. The complexity of construction of tall buildings means maintenance costs are very high, between two and seven times as high per unit as the cost of maintaining a two story property. Maintenance also takes longer. Problems are due in part to the fact that access takes place via lifts (McGinty, 1974). The 1968 explosion and collapse of Ronan Point in East London effectively ended the development of high rises as local authority housing (Jones and Murie 2006). In 1968, 20% of new housing planned by local authorities were buildings of 5 stories of more: by 1973 this figure had shrunk to 2.4% (McGinty 1974). While residents moving into the high-rise blocks were initially enthusiastic, problems with block maintenance and isolation of residents quickly emerged. Finally, not all residents were happy to be moved from the slums. Some saw the move as a ‘step down’ into council owned accommodation, others were unhappy with the rises in rent, despite the improved living facilities (Pacione 2009).
Other problems were to do with the extent of the scheme. Government was well aware of this by the 1970’s. One central problem was the focus upon slum clearance simply was not enough. Demolition of poor quality buildings did not address the continuing existence of inadequate housing, nor the fact that housing that was adequate in itself was left to deteriorate. One of the factors contributing to this was the existence of rent control (Cullingworth and Nadin 2002). Rent control was introduced in the UK during the two World Wars in the 20th Century, to limit the levels of rents charged by private landlords for poorer quality housing. It continued after the wars for a considerable period. It was designed to stop landlords capitalising on housing shortages by raising rents. However, it proved difficult to remove, and also meant that the supply of housing was reduced, as landlords were not encouraged to offer their accommodation for rent, as they would get relatively little return due to fixed rent levels (Glennerster 2009). Another problem with the programme as a whole was that it concentrated on the physicality of housing and less at the impact of housing on the residents, for example the social and cultural issues outlined above (Cullingworth and Nadin 2002).

This period is clearly marked by a environmental determinism with regards to housing. The UK response to housing problems could be seen as a reaction against the 19th Century Victorian industrial heritage, based on a belief that removing people from their old environment and giving them air and light would solve social ills (Jenkins et al 2007). There was a further belief that moving housing estates to the edge of the city would allow people to benefit from the impact of the countryside, and reconnect with an ideal of ‘country life’ associated with pre-industrial times. Policy was influenced by an idea that poverty could be tackled through improving access to greenery, but also by breaking down working class ghettoes and promoting individualism by separate housing for families (Gough et al 2006). A number of studies carried out in the UK during this time looked at the physical impact of housing on poverty, and US writers started to explore the notion that criminality was influenced by place and architecture (Greed 2003). At the same time, the idea that poverty could be tackled by breaking up working class communities and mixing working and middle classes in new suburban areas is a precursor of ‘cycles of disadvantage’ theories.
4.3 1970 to Present Day
The final stage of slum clearances took place from 1970 onwards. However, this period also divides into sub-stages, with the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s onwards having different approaches.

The UK government started to realise the full extent of the negatives associated with the slum clearance programme by the 1970’s. This led to a reappraisal of the programmes and strategy. They had seen that it was not enough to demolish buildings, but there was also a need to regenerate existing housing stock. They also realised this should not be done on an individual basis, but through area-wide policies, which had the effect of also encouraging individual regeneration of houses. They also realised that there was a need to concentrate not on the physicality of housing exclusively but also upon the impact upon residents. The late 1960’s onwards saw many new programmes developed, aiming to create a national policy to address this gap. Many different departments were involved, for example the Home Office created the 1968 Urban Programme and the 1974 Community Development Programme, and the DHSS the 1973 Cycle of Deprivation Studies (Cullingworth and Nadin 2002). This was a period of reaction against environmental determinism, and by the 1980’s, the earlier prevailing “discourse of reconstruction” (Jones and Evans 2008, p. 2) had been replaced with a different discourse, that of Urban Regeneration, suggesting that rather than demolish and replace existing structures and communities, the focus would be upon working with what is already there, and improve it.

Figure 11: Urban Regeneration, Salford Quays (Manchester)
The initial focus, under the 1980’s Conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher, was upon the individual rather than the community, but this era did see the beginning of attempts to bring economic improvements and social changes to deprived urban areas, in part prompted by incidents such as the Toxteth riots in inner-city Liverpool. The 80’s era embraced the notion of cycles of disadvantage. The notion was introduced by Rutter and Madge in 1976, and suggested that a deviant family environment explained the transmission of social deprivation from generation to generation, rather than social structures. The model was briefly popular in the 1980’s. It was largely associated in the UK with Sir Keith Joseph, and his division of the poor into deserving and undeserving. For Joseph, the low income family was a problematic family, and the cycle of disadvantage emphasised poor parenting and lack of control over money. The notion was also rejected by social scientists as a way of explaining poverty. It was a behaviourist, individualist account that ignored broader issues of inequality in society, and most theorists at the time embraced a structural assessment of exclusion and poverty. Certainly, the approach to regeneration during the Thatcher era was marked by a neo-liberal approach which embraced a deregulation of planning restrictions, a relaxation of rules designed to protect workers, scaling back of State intervention and responsibility for urban development moved to the private sector (MacGregor 1999). Council housing was sold off under the ‘right to buy’ scheme, which had the subsequent impact of a diminished housing stock (Williams and Holmans 1997).

During the 90’s and beginning of the 21st century, the nature of urban regeneration changed again, with a more holistic approach which aimed to address all facets of community life including housing, economic and work opportunities, social and environmental aspects. This move to a more holistic Urban Regeneration viewpoint seems a useful one, as it addresses many of the problems uncovered during the 80 years in which slum clearance programmes have existed within the UK. The 90’s were associated with a new policy phase in terms of urban renewal and social exclusion. For New Labour, the aims of social exclusion and tackling poor housing were closely linked. In 2001 the Social Exclusion Unit set out long-term strategy for achieving changes in areas of deprivation, with the aim that “within 10 to 20 years, no-one should be seriously disadvantaged by where they live” . This translated into attempts to tackle five different areas, crime, health, lack of skills, unemployment, and housing and environment, and also to reduce the gap between rich and poor. Attempts to improve housing and environment invluded investment in housing, transferring management of local authority properties to housing associations, and extra money for the management of housing. There was also an aim to increase supply, with a target of reducing sub-standard living accommodation by 1/3 by 2004. The SEU recommended local, neighbourhood and national attempts to address this, with new Local Strategic Partnerships, and partnerships between social entrepreneurs and community groups. (SEU 2001).

A number of issues can be raised with the New Labour approach. First, the sheer complexity of attempts to address issues of social exclusion and urban renewal meant that practical improvements were hampered. There was a proliferation of different schemes and initiatives designed to tackle problems. The sheer number of different attempts seems, at least in part, to have been prompted by the concern to be seen to do something. In addition, the government structures responsible for urban renewal and social exclusion were complex and subject to change. Initially, the social exclusion unit was part of the cabinet office, while urban policy was the responsibility of the Department of the Enviornment, Transport and Regions. In 2002 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister became responsible overall for social exculsion and urban policy, however within this department people working on the area had to answer to three different ministerial departments. There was also a lack of co-ordination, a target-led culture which emphasised quantifiable results, and a managerial culture which took power from the grass roots (Johnstone and Whitehead, 2004). However, by acknowledging that poor housing is part of a wider picture which includes issues of health, access to food, crime, education and unemployment, the policies from the late 90’s seem more consistent with regime theory.
5. Conclusion
In summary, there are clear lessons which were learned during the UK clearance programme. The first lesson concerns the need to address the new buildings. High-rise developments have a number of problems for the residents, and are expensive to maintain. The infrastructure of new housing developments needs to be in place, including transport, shops and schooling. More than merely physical needs of residents need to be taken into account, for example the risk of isolation to residents displaced from their existing community needs to be addressed, perhaps by attempting to move residents as communities, rather than as individuals. In addition, as the lengthy time scale of many UK renewal schemes led to ‘planning blight’, there is a need to make sure clearance takes place as quickly as possible. There should be more communication between authorities and local residents from early consultations before clearance programmes through to gathering feedback after residents are moved. The interests of the residents should be at the heart of the process. A holistic approach should be taken by local authorities as well as by national government, with a clear strategy shared with all partners and an assurance that communication will be adequate. Demolition of existing residences should be replaced by a programme of renewal.

It is also clear that different policies characterise the attempts during different eras in UK history to address the problems of substandard accommodation and social exclusion. The 1930’s offered a purely physical approach, which was continued during the main phase of slum clearance between 1950 to 1970. During this phase, it was assumed that simply rehousing tenants in better quality accommodation, with more space for family life would be sufficient to eradicate problems of poverty. During the 80’s Conservative government, there was a brief interest in cycle of deprivation theories, which effectively focused responsibility for poverty and poor housing on the family, and aimed to intervene through education. Policies of urban renewal during this period relied heavily upon investment by the private sector, with reduced government intervention, and local authority housing stock was sold off. Finally, the attempts by the New Labour government to reduce gaps between rich and poor and fight social exclusion embraced housing as one element in a complex mix of factors best modelled by regime theory. While all attempts to address social exclusion through housing have problematic elements, the New Labour approach seems the most appropriate over the period considered.

The area covered by this study is wide, and the work was limited by word constraints. More detailed investigations of the various theoretical models which can be applied to different approaches to urban renewal in the UK, particularly regime theory, would have been useful. Another limitation of the work is that it consists of secondary research only. A primary phase would have allowed data tailored to the particular research questions to be included.

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