Course Title: Housing, Planning and the Urban Built Environment
Dates: February to April 2007
Professor:  Austin Barber, Rob Rowlands (University of Birmingham, United Kingdom)

Course Summary:
This course explores the challenges and opportunities posed by the evolving built environment in European cities and how spatial policy responses attempt to address these problems and to harness the potential for improved social conditions and quality of place in major urban areas. The module places particular focus on the role of housing development and its policy context in shaping the social and physical fabric of the contemporary city. In examining a range of housing and planning policy approaches and their interaction with other trends and urban dynamics, this module considers what role such policies play in meeting social objectives, how the built environment can contribute to and help overcome segregation and exclusion, and how polices for renewal can deliver different social, spatial and economic outcomes in urban areas.




Title of the Lecture

Abstract & Readings



R. Rowlands (University of Birmingham, United Kingdom)

Using Urban Planning Policy to Achieve Social Objectives


Planning and housing policy are increasing being used to minimise social exclusion and promote social and income mix. This session explores urban policy makers’ aspirations for mixed neighbourhoods and the  mechanisms that are used in an attempt to achieve this.  The readings indicated address different means through which these objectives have been delivered and consider the outcomes and consequences for residents and wider neighbourhoods.


Cole, I & Goodchild, B (2001) “Social Mix and the “Balanced Community” in British Housing Policy – a Tale of Two Epochs” GeoJournal 51: 351-360

Kleinhans, R (2004) “Social Implications of Housing Diversification in Urban Renewal: A Review of Recent Literature” Journal of Houisng & the Built Environment 19:367-390

Popkin, S.J., Levy, D., Harris, L., Comey, J. & Cunningham, M. (2004) “The HOPE VI Program: What about the Residents?” Housing Policy Debate 15: 385-414.



R. Rowlands (University of Birmingham, United Kingdom)

Houisng, Segregation and Social Cohesion


The dyamics of recent change in urban housing markets have intensified problems encountered with social segregation and particularly social cohesion.   Residualisation of public housing, growing affordability gaps in some countries and wider social trends including international migration are contributing to a spatial segregation of social groups.  Housing is central to solutions to these problems, the focus being to rebuild community and promote social cohesion.  This session looks at the problems underpinning a lack of cohesion and efforts to use the built environment to promote better cohesion.


Dekker, K & Rowlands, R (2005) "Social Cohesion in Ethnically and Socio-economic Diverse Estates: A Problem Which Can Be Tackled?" in Restructuring Large Scale Housing Estates in European Cities (Eds: R. van Kempen, K. Dekker, S. Hall & I. Tosics) Bristol: Policy Press

Kearns, A & Forrest, R (2000) “Social Cohesion & Multilevel Urban Governance” Urban Studies 37:995-1017

Atkinson, R & Flint, J (2004) “Fortress UK? Gated communities, the spatial revolt of the elites and time–space trajectories of segregation” Urban Studies 19:875-892



A. Murie (University of Birmingham, United Kingdom)

Privatisation of housing 


The privatisation of public or social rented housing has been a significant development affecting the role of these neighbourhoods, their future development and policies for regeneration and renewal.  This session considers the different processes and progress of privatisation and the implications for neighbourhood change and policy in different cities.


 A Murie, I Tosics, M Aalbers, R Sendi and B Cernic-Mali  (2005) Privatisation and After in  Restructuring Large-scale Housing Estates in European Cities: Good Practices and New Visions for Sustainable Neighbourhoods and Cities, SG Hall, R Van Kempen, R Dekker, I Tosics (Editors), Bristol, Policy Press, ISBN: 1861347758).


To be rescheduled

H. Meert (Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium)

Homelessness and housing exclusion 


Homelessness has become a major social problem in both Western and Central and Eastern European countries. This course will discuss the European Typology of Homelessness and Housing Exclusion (ETHOS) and further deal with causes of homelessness and housing vulnerability in Europe.


Edgar B., Doherty J. & Meert H. (2002), Access to Housing. Homelessness and vulnerability in Europe. Bristol: The Policy Press (Chapter 3: Commodification and access to housing, pp. 33-50).

Edgar B., Doherty J. & Meert H. (2004), Immigration and Homelessness in Europe. Bristol: The Policy Press (Chapter 4: Immigrants and European Housing markets, pp. 57-94).

Edgar B. & Meert H. (2005, Fourth Review on Statistics of Homelessness in Europe. The ETHOS definition of homelessness. Brussels: Feantsa. (in particular chapter 3: The Feantsa ETHOS definition, pp. 14-17). Available at: (publication search engine).



R. Rowlands (University of Birmingham, United Kingdom)

Regeneration and residential change


Large housing estates have posed a significant challenge for urban policy makers from their inception to their more recent regeneration. This session focuses on the issues raised in the process of regeneration and the good practice experience that can be considered from across Europe.


Murie, A & Rowlands, R – Working Paper to be provided in July.



A. Barber (University of Birmingham, United Kingdom)

City centre regeneration and new resdiential districts


The physical and economic transformation of city centres and their surrouding districts since the 1980s has led to the growth of important and distinctive new housing markets in major cities. This session examines the emergence of these new markets alongside wider regeneration initiatives, the policy challenges that they present and how  urban planners and policy makers are responding to this recent phenomenon.

Vicario, L and Manuel Martinez Monje, P. (2005) “Another Guggenheim Effect?: Central City Projects and Gentrification in Bilbao”, in Atkinson, R. And Bridge, G. Eds. Gentrification in a Global Context, London: Routledge.



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