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Urban renewal and the culture of conservatism: changing perceptions of the tower block and implications for contemporary renewal initiatives'

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-26, 10:15 authored by Jacobs, K, Manzi, T
The paper is divided into two parts. In the first part, we examine the emergence of the tower block phenomenon and summarise the cause of its subsequent decline. The issue is important, for as we argue, tower blocks have been used to discredit not only public housing, but state welfare provision in general. In the second part, we utilise our analysis of developments in social policy in the United Kingdom in the 1990s to generate a critique of housing renewal strategies. Although it is important not to read across simplistically between politics, cultural criticism and policy failure, nevertheless with reference to tower blocks we argue there is a commonality between these three issues. By highlighting these links it is possible to show how many of the latest housing proposals are influenced by a one dimensional reading of 'modernity', accentuating the negative aspects and neglecting some of the positive attributes. As a consequence, the philosophies that now underpin housing development are, in many respects, regressive and unimaginative.


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Critical Social Policy



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  • Published

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Copyright 1998 Sage

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