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London Housing Estates. Anne Power London School of Economics 19 February 2010. London 1980. Approximately: 1 million council homes 2,000 estates 200-1,000 homes each Some much bigger 60%+ flats. Large council landlords. 65% of all homes in inner boroughs

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London Housing Estates

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London housing estates

London Housing Estates

Anne Power

London School of Economics

19 February 2010

London 1980

London 1980


  • 1 million council homes

  • 2,000 estates

  • 200-1,000 homes each

  • Some much bigger

  • 60%+ flats

Large council landlords

Large council landlords

  • 65% of all homes in inner boroughs

  • Delinquent management, eg. Hackney TH

  • No reinvestment funds

  • Right-to-buy extremely low

  • Problems of low demand

  • Early experiments in ‘estate-based’ management

  • ‘Inner’ distinct from ‘outer’

Harvist estate

Harvist Estate



Wenlock barn estate

Wenlock Barn Estate

Tulse hill estate

Tulse Hill Estate

London housing estates


  • Right-to-buy very successful

  • Transfers to Housing Associations attract reinvestment

  • Arms’ Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) take over

  • ‘Group’ social landlords dominate, i.e. large housing associations

  • Council stock halved

  • Pressures of demand intense

Large estates

Large estates

  • Very low income populations

  • Concentrated in most deprived areas

  • Much higher worklessness than average

  • Concentrations of lone parent families

  • Serious visible social problems

  • Much greater management challenges

  • Move to high-tech ‘remote’ systems

White city estate

White City Estate

White city estate1

White City Estate

Edward woods estate

Edward Woods Estate

Edward woods estate1

Edward Woods Estate

St luke s islington

St. Luke’s, Islington

The flag of mixed communities

The flag of mixed communities


  • Social segregation is bad

  • Concentrated poverty multiplies problems

  • Mixed incomes generate resources

     Standards rise, services improve

  • People value more attractive places

  • Goal of reshaping social housing



  • A double-edged sword

  • 100s of estates targeted

  • Removes large affordable supply

  • Displaces large low-income populations

  • Relies on large private investment

  • Difficult to raise ‘social’ to level of private

  • So, mixed communities falter

  • But affordable housing supply shrinks

  • Blighting estates

Woodberry down

Woodberry Down

Is there another way

Is there another way?

  • Manage and repair block by block to the value of £200,000 per home

  • Preserve and upgrade all estates as affordable housing

  • Burden of proof on landlord to prove otherwise

  • Tackle worst social problems through social interventions, minimise demolition and displacement

  • Encourage community links

  • Offer hand-holding and supports

  • Extend social supply into private renting

  • Acquire and renovate unwanted empty property

Broadwater farm estate

Broadwater Farm Estate

Broadwater farm estate1

Broadwater Farm Estate

Clapton park estate

Clapton Park Estate

Can poor unpopular estates be made to work

Can poor, unpopular estates be made to work?

  • No alternative – still around 2,000

  • Some examples:

    • White City, Hammersmith

    • Poplar HARCA, Tower Hamlets

    • Hornsey Lane, Islington

    • Harvest Estate, Islington

    • Clapton Park, Hackney

    • Broadwater Farm, Haringey

    • Edward Woods, Hammersmith

Poplar harca

Poplar HARCA

London housing estates


  • In spite of poverty –

  • All model estates work with three conditions:

    - intensive estate-based management

    - ‘custodial’ caretaking

    - resident involvement

  • Modest continual investment

  • Careful on-site problem-solving

  • Direct communication between landlords and tenants

  • Extensive social provision and support

  • On-going repair, cleaning, security

Locally based communal services for large community built estates are a sine qua non of success

Locally-based communal services for large community built estates are a sine qua non of success

  • Works for the rich!

  • Works for the poor!

    - Street police

    - Park keepers

    - Wardens

    - Door security

    - Odd jobs man

someone to turn to

Park keeper

Park keeper



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