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Housing the “Big Society”

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  1. Housing the “Big Society” Phillip Blond Director, ResPublica

  2. The Core Problems • The ECONOMIC problem • The SOCIAL problem • The CIVIC problem • The POWER problem

  3. The Economic Problem Assets have become concentrated • The wealthiest half of households hold 91% of the UK’s total wealth Source: ONS, Wealth in Great Britain – Main Results from the Wealth and Assets Survey 2006/08 (2009)

  4. The Economic Problem Growing income inequality (UK) Index of rise in gross weekly earnings, full time males (1978-2008) Source: Stewart Lansley, “How Rising Inequality contributed to the crash”, Soundings, Spring 2010

  5. The Economic Problem Wages won’t deliver (US) Over the long-term, US wages have stagnated in a time of growth

  6. The Economic Problem Warning signs of a UK decoupling? Male median wages have fallen behind GDP growth since the early 1970s

  7. The Economic Problem Low-earners have seen less growth, and even decline, in wages (UK)

  8. The Social Problem Social capital is declining • 97% of communities have become more socially fragmented over the past 30 years Source: Changing UK (Dec 2008), BBC Report

  9. The Social Problem Fear of crime (UK) Fear has a strong relationship with social trust

  10. The Civic Problem Civic engagement has decreased • Only 31% of Britons now provide nearly 90% of all volunteer hours Source: Third Sector Research Centre (2010)

  11. The Civic Problem Decrease in civic participation (UK)

  12. The Power Problem Power has pooled in the state • Nearly three out of four Britons agree that “the state intervenes too much” Source, David Halpern, “The Wealth of Nations” (2007)

  13. The Power Problem

  14. The Diagnosis Problems with the ‘left’ and ‘right’ • Both welfarism and the ‘monopolised market’ have encouraged bureaucracy and asset concentration • The state and the market have squeezed out the ‘civic middle’, stripping it of capital and capacity

  15. Housing: Potential Issues • Retreat of the state from funding and regulation. • The need for new solutions • Meeting government policies and reflecting local communities

  16. Housing: Opportunities • In delivering the localism agenda: enablers and investors • As platforms for opening, extending and devolving public services • As mutual models

  17. Localism • Local connection is essential • Housing associations can work on behalf of communities: e.g. neighbourhood planning, economic development – Green Deal • Support those with limited capacity and capital

  18. Localism Tübingen User-Led Housing: a self-commissioned neighbourhood

  19. Localism Tübingen User-Led Housing • Self-commissioned, self-designed plot by plot neighbourhood development • Working in labour and design partnership • Active participation in delivering solutions rather than ‘top-down’ standardised delivery

  20. Association led Investment • Housing providers are well placed for broader public service delivery • Platform the ‘right to challenge’: ‘right to buy’ • Offer platform for community-based enterprise and investment: Skill Generating :-Work Programme

  21. Active Citizen Developers Hørsholm Waste-to-Energy: a neighbourhood clean-tech incinerator

  22. Bottom up Procurement Hørsholm Waste-to-Energy • Community not-for-profit asset – shared wins • Incinerator waste-to-energy plant heats 10,000 homes: cuts heating bills by 30% • Energy cost savings raise house valuations

  23. Opening Public Services

  24. Opening Public Services Poplar HARCA • Big business, but relevance through local governance • Asset transfer of underused facilities: community centres now used for youth groups, health clinics, etc • Managed by HA but input by and for locals

  25. Mutual Models • Does community-ownership and mutualism have a role to play in housing? • Increase accountability and transparency – and safeguard social mission through a “social dividend” • Community empowerment

  26. Mutual Models

  27. Mutual Models • Anticipated ownership model: membership drawn from tenants and staff – Rochdale Borough Wide Housing • Developing new accountability membership framework • Working together to reduce costs

  28. Housing the Big Society • Appeal to the local: be a platform for the Localism Bill and encourage investment • Platform provision: open public services and offer alternatives for delivery local platform for statutory services – Hubs : -St Georges - Birmingham • Ground in the social: devolution of governance and assets

  29. The Future • Social housing as Social Enterprise • If its Public money has to be for the Public Good • Housing no longer enough – that’s the base not the high bar

  30. The New Standard • Economic – self and community build – plaform for mass bottom up enterprise • Social – associate to create capital and skills • Civic – begin where people are - foster relationships and fraternity • Power – change governance – go bottom up