Reconstructing Public Housing unearths Liverpool’s hidden history of collective alternatives to municipal housing development and state-led regeneration and builds a real-utopian vision of how we might reconstruct public housing, urban spaces and local economies on more democratic and cooperative foundations.
The book charts how two pioneering social movements – Liverpool’s 1970s ‘housing cooperative revolution’ and contemporary community land trust (CLT) activism – were shaped by, and in turn transformed, the distinctive politics, economics, culture and urbanism of the city. It tells the story of the Shelter Neighbourhood Action Project (1969–72), one of Shelter’s earliest initiatives and a pioneer of community development; of Weller Street (est. 1977), the country’s first new-build housing co-op to be designed, developed, owned and managed by its member-residents; the Eldonian Community Trust (est. 1982), a project pitted in a political battle against the Militant Tendency-led city council who sought to municipalise the co-ops; and Granby Four Streets CLT (est. 2011), the first ever architectural or housing regeneration project to win the Turner Prize...
Reconstructing Public Housing imparts insights into the challenge of institutionalising and replicating such experiments elsewhere without diluting their radical political potential. Drawing on theories of capitalism and cooperativism, property and the commons, institutional change and urban transformation, it reconsiders Engels’ housing question for the current conjuncture, reflecting on how collective alternatives – as articulations of the commons – work in, against and beyond the state and capital, in often surprising and contradictory ways.
Table of contents and more info here: https://www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/books/isbn/9781789627404/
Here’s what the peer reviewers said about the first draft:
The author successfully combines a visionary idealism with a realistic assessment of limits, conditions and barriers that have confined us to a few glimpses of how utopian collectivism and commons could provide a real alternative to the historic statist tradition of public housing. Professor David Mullins, Emeritus Professor of Housing Policy, University of Birmingham
This book makes a very significant contribution to housing and urban studies. Extremely readable and articulate, making complex theory understandable, and theorists accessible – a pleasure to read. Dr Quintin Bradley, Leeds Beckett University