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Comparative dimensions of social housing in Arhus and Newcastle, 1890s-1979 : the problem of the political culture of two social housing systems

Denmark, being a much smaller country than Britain, has, in absolute terms, a smaller housing problem. Nevertheless, there are surely lessons to be learned from the highly successful system which the Danish people and Government have worked out for themselves. A housing society, or some equivalent organization, provided for each separate region or sub-region in Great Britain might offer a solution to the difficult [sic.] that design for our working-class housing is under the controls of councils of very varying degrees of technical knowledge, which then have to be prodded and supervised to some extent by various Government departments. The housing society seems an admirable compromise, provided that it can be kept on the completely non-profit making basis that is successfully secured in Denmark. Ian Bowen, Housing Policy in Denmark, The Architects' Journal, August 4, 1949, p.133 A generation of competent technicians and fearless, idealistic politicians [in Britain] have been able to make a contribution which will persist as a good example of the capabilities of the present and as an incomparable field of study for others who are working in planning. Aage Jedich, Report from Holme-Tranbjerg Council Committee's visit to England, 12.07.19631 A comparison of the housing provided by two cities within separate nation states may encourage a mutually admiring gaze from each position. Comparisons have provided a tool in learning about new housing practices, understanding one's own position from a different vantage point and throwing light on areas that may have remained unquestioned until a visit abroad revealed different approaches to a similar problem. As the quotes above suggest, professional groups involved in the provision of housing and urban planning in post-war Denmark and Britain held each other's national strategies in high regard as they contemplated their local problems of creating spaces for effective urban communities. It will become clear for the cities studied in this thesis that local councillors, public officials and social housing providers at times sought to explore the wider areas of learning that practices abroad could offer. Yet the main approach adopted in this thesis is the comparative historical approach: the thesis studies the origins and history of social housing systems in Arhus, Denmark, and Newcastle, Britain. The comparison creates contrasts and similarities between the two cities through an urban social history approach. The key theme explored in the work is the notions of local democratic culture arising within the social housing systems of the two cities covering most of the twentieth century, but with an emphasis on the period 1945-1979. The introduction will discuss themes running through the work and will consider how the structure of the thesis allows for the comparison to illuminate aspects of the local political culture of the two cities that was directly affected by and affected in turn the local provision of social housing. Like most Western European cities in the twentieth century Arhus and Newcastle faced the problems of providing adequate housing for large groups of working people as the cities grew or older housing types became outdated. The study examines the options and strategies that were explored and adopted by the housing authorities in the two cities to recover from slumps in housing provision. It is clear that each city approached housing provision through different groups of facilitators: in Arhus, as in Denmark in general, the housing association was the primary generator of social housing, while Newcastle followed the British pattern — providing social housing through the municipality. Thus the agency of provision was different in the two cases from the outset. How the mediating influence of housing associations between the Arhusian Council and residents in social housing contrasted with the direct provision of council housing in Newcastle is a key issue for the the...
Date January 2007
CreatorsGoldsmith, Lorna Colberg
ContributorsLancaster, William
PublisherNorthumbria University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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