The UK’s housing crisis and its booming property prices are rarely out of the news, giving academics and economists much to write about. From the impact of welfare cuts and homelessness to rapidly increasing returns on buy-to-lets, housing is a hot topic for students of sociology, economics, and politics. We bring together a reading list covering the history of housing, the future of our cities, and the how architects can be more inclusive in their designs. 

Interested in the history of housing in the UK and Europe?

The Housing Debate by Stuart Lowe
Interest in the UK’s housing shortage and the negative effects this brings for renters, mortgage-payers, and those in social housing makes Stuart Lowe‘s account of the current situation a relevant introduction to the topic. The Housing Debate is remarkably well-structured and digestible for a piece of academic work, writes Kerwin Datu, but it could have been improved if the author had found a way to include where we can go next. Read more…


Interested in housing as a human right?

The Right to Housing: Laws, Concepts, Possibilities by Jessie Hohmann
Drawing on insights from disciplines including law, anthropology, political theory, philosophy and geography, this book aims to address important questions on the role of human rights in belonging and citizenship, the formation of identity, the perpetuation of forms of social organisation and, ultimately, of the relationship between the individual and the state. Matt Hartman finds that Jessie Hohmann’s work is a fitting introduction to the convoluted topic of housing as a human right. Read more…


Interested in urban policy and the privatisation of cities?

Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty-First-Century City by Anna Minton
The privatisation of our cities has gone too far, argues Anna Minton in this passionate and convincing tale of the brutal links between regeneration, capitalism and unhappiness. Fran Tonkiss finds Minton’s analysis of the real legacy of the Olympic Games compelling, with important warnings on inequality and police states. Read more…



Interested in the role of the aesthetic in the city?

Utopian Adventure: The Corviale Void by Victoria Watson
Karl Baker considers this unique book on contemporary issues in architecture and urbanism, centring on The Corviale Void project: a one kilometre long strip of urban space, immured in the notorious Corviale housing development in southwest Rome. Author Victoria Watson opens questions about the role of the aesthetic and the monumental in the city, challenging materialist and economically rationalist ideas of city making. Read more…


Interested in how housing can be ‘gender-friendly’?

Fair Shared Cities: The Impact of Gender Planning in Europe edited by Inés Sánchez de Madariaga and Marion Roberts
Bringing together a diverse team of leading scholars and professionals, Fair Shared Cities offers a variety of insights into ongoing gender mainstreaming policies in Europe with a focus on urban/spatial planning. Natalie Novick finds that through the examples of effective policy contained in these pages, the contributors shows how the successful implementation of gender mainstreaming is in the collective interest and it is possible that the city can be constructed more effectively into a place that is more equal for everyone. Read more…

Interested in homelessness and squatting?

Squatters into Citizens: The 1961 Bukit Ho Swee Fire and the Making of Modern Singapore by Loh Kah Seng
Fifty years have passed since the great fire at Bukit Ho Swee in Singapore left 16,000 people homeless, gave rise to a national emergency and led to the first big public housing project in the country: a seminal event in the making of modern Singapore. Loh Kah Senggrew up in one-room rental flats in the estate built after the fire, and in this book he draws on oral history interviews, official records and media reports to describe daily life in squatter communities and how people coped with the hazard posed by fires. Reviewed by Nathan Bullock. Read more…

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