Four: Urban housing market restructuring and the recasting of neighbourhood governance and community


In the late 1990s, the growth of a stark national imbalance with ‘overheated’ housing markets was experienced in the South of England, as well as ‘low demand’ for housing in parts of the North. The policy response to the issue of low demand was to create a Housing Market Renewal (HMR) programme, whose central task was to restore sustainability to inner-urban-housing markets. Nine HMR Pathfinders were established after funding was announced in the 2002 Comprehensive Spending Review, and the policy was launched in the Sustainable Communities Plan. This chapter describes the extensive empirical research conducted around the HMR process in East Manchester between 2004 and 2008. Regeneration was aimed at East Manchester, which ‘read up’ to the overarching aims of Manchester City Council for the city as a whole. Hence, in terms of principles for the renewal of individual neighbourhoods, a key aim was the restructuring and rebalancing of skewed physical attributes of the housing market. The process of urban-housing-market restructuring enacted in East Manchester involved, inter alia, the creation of aspirational, market-orientated housing in neighbourhoods that were explicitly aimed at new incoming residents, with the intention of effecting a social transition. There is a transition in the type, form, and mixture of housing types; the balance of tenure; and the way security is provided and the neighbourhood managed.

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