The aim of this chapter is to provide more detail on the analytical and research processes involved in the inhabitation practices approach and to highlight some of the issues to be confronted in the choice of methods and evaluation criteria to employ. The key question to be addressed is how should inhabitation practices be studied and evaluated by academics, governments or housing agencies? The aim of the chapter is to outline some of the general issues involved and the choices available.
In this concluding chapter, the aim is to briefly summarise the main argument of the book, which is in four parts. First is the case for the importance of seeing the impact of housing on the rest of Nature; second is the redefinition of the field through adoption of the concept of inhabitation; third is the argument for the adoption of the practices approach as a research framework; and fourth is the adoption of a holistic research approach to the study of practices that is wide-ranging and by examining issues from different perspectives (including those of materials and animals). Each of these four arguments is considered in turn. Taken together these constitute a radical overhaul of housing research and policy and so the chapter concludes with a discussion of the implications for both.
This chapter focuses on the consumption of houses with the aim of providing examples of the use of the concept of inhabitation practices in order to provide some guidance on the practical use of the concept and to illustrate the contribution that its application can make to the study of inhabitation and to housing policy. The chapter provides examples of the research topics that would be important to pursue, and to provide insight into the methods that could usefully be employed, in the hope that this will inspire the research that will contribute to goals such as climate change and to the health of Nature in general.
Rejecting the assumption that housing and cities are separate from nature, David Clapham advances a new research framework that integrates housing with the rest of the natural world. Demonstrating the wider context of human lives and the impact of housing on the non-human environment, the author considers the impact of current inhabitation practices on climate change and biodiversity.
Showcasing the significant contribution that housing policy can make in mitigating environmental problems, this book will stimulate debate amongst housing researchers and policy makers.
This chapter builds on the previous discussion by focusing on the concept of social practices and applying it to inhabitation. Therefore, this chapter focuses on the concept of inhabitation practices as a way of integrating some of the insights generated in previous chapters and providing a focus for analysis. To achieve this, the chapter starts with the concept of social practices, describing its definition and use by different authors and how it has been applied in housing and other fields. This is followed by an examination of the similarities and differences between the new materialist approaches outlined in the previous chapter and social practices. The aim is to find a way forward that provides a conceptual framework for the analysis of inhabitation.
This introductory chapter focuses on two propositions central to the argument of the book:
1. Houses and the people that live in them are important elements of Nature rather than separated from it.
2. The concept of ‘inhabitation’ provides an appropriate focus for what has been previously called housing studies and policy.
This chapter reviews two common approaches to the study of housing. It begins with a brief description of social constructionism and its impact on academic housing research and policy and practice. The strengths and weaknesses of the approach are outlined and the increasingly popular alternative of new materialism that builds on the weaknesses is considered. New materialism overcomes the relative neglect of material elements in social constructionism, which was dominated by the study of language and discourse.
The intention in this chapter is to outline how the inhabitation practices approach can be applied to other locations as well as the home. Three examples will be given in the chapter in order to show some possible approaches. The first is to focus on the redevelopment site in a similar way that was suggested in Chapter 6 for the building site. The second example is to focus on a particular inhabitation practice and to follow this through. The example chosen here is the practice of communing with nature. The third example is the examination of discourses as connective tissue that influence many practices. The example here is the related concepts of urban densification such as new urbanism or the ‘20-minute neighbourhood’ that influence public policies and the practices of developers. Finally, the impact of these (and other possible topics) on public policy issues will be considered.
The chapter focuses on three topics within the house production process in order to give indications of how the inhabitation practices can be applied and the value of the analysis. The first focus is on the house-building site as the location where the practices involved in the production process come together as the house is constructed. This focus can provide a way in to analysis of the individual practices that contribute to the whole. The second focus is on the organisational and professional practices that are pursued by the many organisations and professions that are involved in house production, including trades such as plumbers or electricians and professions such as surveyors, town planners and so on working for many different kinds of organisations. The third focus is on the discourses that can be viewed as ‘connective tissue’ that link many individual practices by providing the context for their performance. The chapter concludes with a discussion of some of the policy issues that are raised by the analysis of production practices, focusing on the impacts on the rest of Nature.
Cities have long functioned as primary drivers for trade, investment and regional economic development, as well as sites where individuals emerge from their private spaces, connect with each other, form solidarities, politicize themselves and begin to think as a group with distinctive interconnected interests (Hytrek, 2020), to create what Mouffe (1996) calls chains of equivalence. Particularly in the US, cities manage a broad array of offloaded regulatory responsibilities and socio-economic risks and are important geographical targets and institutional laboratories for a variety of neoliberal market-based policy experiments (Peck et al, 2009: 58). These range from place marketing, enterprise zones, property redevelopment schemes and local tax abatements to workfare policies and new strategies of social control, along with a host of other institutional modifications within the local governmental apparatus. Even as US cities increasingly function as sites for neoliberal strategies and for securing order and control of marginalized populations, they remain incubators of and platforms for counterhegemonic movements. Yet the politicizing effects of cities are not uniform across space, with new movements emerging in some unlikely cities, those without histories of progressive activism.
In this chapter, I analyse one such case, Long Beach, CA, where a long history of conservative politics was dramatically and quickly reversed by the unexpected gelling of a historically fragmented labour and community sector into a viable progressive movement. To understand the rapid turnaround, the analysis draws upon the secondary city literature that examines the mechanisms through which smaller regional (secondary) cities are able to ‘punch above their weight’ and achieve economic performance unique for their size.