Welcome to the blog for the ESRC seminar series The Big Society, Localism and Housing Policy.
The buzzwords of ‘big society’ and ‘localism’ have become ubiquitous in housing policy and practice in England since the formation of the coalition government in 2010. Similarly, many of the principles underpinning the ideas of big society and localism can be found in the language and policy developments of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, albeit with subtle differences in design and implementation. The new powers, freedoms and flexibilities that localism provides for different administrations, local authorities and communities may lead to greater divergence in housing policy than we have seen under devolution in previous years, particularly when understood in the context of ongoing welfare reform, tenure restructuring and cuts to public spending.
The purpose of the seminar series is to critically engage with these issues, to explore their implications for housing policy, practice and research, and to understand their varied geographical impact across the UK. Three two-day seminars will be held, beginning in Sheffield on 7-8 March, in Belfast in October, and finally in St Andrews in March 2014.
But we do not want to restrict the debate and reflection to the confines of six seminar days spread over the next 12 months across the UK. In addition to the seminar materials made available through the website, we hope this blog will act as a forum for continued critical debate and discussion over the course of the seminar series. In the coming weeks and months we will be publishing blog pieces related to the themes of the seminars (see below) and would like to invite short contributions from academics, early career researchers and colleagues in policy and practice. We aim to publish comment pieces or reflections on new research, new publications, policy developments or the seminars themselves.
If you would like to contribute to the blog or to discuss an idea for a post, please contact myself at firstname.lastname@example.org. We particularly encourage submissions that cover the broad topics of each seminar as detailed in each link below:
Seminar 1: Localism & the Big Society: what do they mean for housing studies? (University of Sheffield, 7-8 March 2013)
Seminar 2: Localism, Welfare Reform and Tenure Restructuring in the UK (Queen’s University Belfast, 24-25 October 2013)
Seminar 3: The Big Society, Localism and the Future of Social Housing (University of St Andrews, 13-14 March 2014)
Tom Moore, University of St Andrews