London housing experts debate the latest crisis

Thursday 27 June 2013

The history of housing provision in London and how it could be used to address the current crisis in the capital is the theme of a conference being held at the Institute of Historical Research.

The two-day conference, which starts today (Thursday 27 June) at Senate House, will examine the historical track record in both private and public sector housing, as well as focusing on council provision and the role this plays in politics and immigration.
Other areas of interest include ‘Builders and the building profession’, ‘Contesting the urban fabric: the politics of gentrification in Islington and Hackney, 1960-1980’ and ‘Big Society, small state: the language of localism and the decline of social housing’.
Professor Matthew Davies, Director for the Centre for Metropolitan History at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) explains how in many regions of the world, an increasing urban population often outstrips the supply of housing, and in this regard, London is no exception.

Of London today, Professor Davies said: “As a growing metropolis, London is in the middle of a severe housing crisis, which has been caused by a combination of factors – an increase in both population and household numbers, planning restrictions on urban expansion, rising rents and the impact of house prices rising with the credit boom, as well as pressure on stretched household incomes as a consequence of the economic downturn.”

The conference organised jointly by the IHR, English Heritage and UrbanLab, aims to bring together the different disciplines involved in housing provision, ranging from planning and design, development and finance to the cultural and social, in an attempt to learn from our history of housing and apply it, where possible, to resolve the present crisis. Many of the presentations will be made available in the coming weeks as audio podcasts on the IHR’s website.

- Ends - 

Notes for editors

The Institute of Historical Research - School of Advanced Study

  • The Institute of Historical Research (IHR) is one of ten member Institutes of the School of Advanced Study, University of London.
  • The IHR was founded in 1921 and is an important resource and meeting place for researchers from all over the world.
  • The mission of the Institute of Historical Research is to promote the study of history and an appreciation of the importance of the past among academics and the general public, both in the UK and internationally.
  • The Centre for Metropolitan History exists to promote research into the history of London and other large cities in all periods and parts of the world.

The University of London

  • The University of London is a federation of 18 world renowned Colleges, comprising of multi-faculty Colleges, smaller specialist Colleges, Institutes and other academic bodies.
  • Examples include; UCL, Heythrop College, the School of Advanced Study, the University of London Institute in Paris and the University of London International Programmes.
  • The University was established by Royal Charter in 1836.
  • The University was the first to offer degrees to students irrespective of religion, political belief or gender.
  • In 1878 the University of London became the first university in the UK to admit women to study for its degrees.
  • The University was also first to offer flexible distance learning, with the establishment in 1858 of the External System, now known as the University of London International Programmes.