LSE Housing and Communities public discussion
Date: Thursday 1 December 2011
Venue: LSE campus, venue to be announced to ticketholders
Speaker: Iain Duncan Smith
Respondents: Professor Anne Power, Professor Jane Waldfogel
Chair: Professor John Hills
The Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion tracked 200 families bringing up children in deprived neighbourhoods over ten years. The families told us a lot about their biggest worries and greatest needs. Streets and parks are unsafe; local facilities cost too much; energetic teenagers are not allowed to go further afield for fear of trouble so they often hang out on local streets. The thing families wanted most was for more for young people to do. Joblessness among low-skilled young people is extremely high in East London and other poor areas. Employers lose confidence and look for more highly qualified, more experienced and more privileged recruits, creating a vicious cycle for young people from troubled neighbourhoods. Families strive hard for their children, but young people need support.
Parents told us what helps most and what works best. They explained what pushes families over the brink. The riots this summer showed how fragile society’s hold is on community resilience, and how many parents fail to control or contain their young people. Most people brought to trial after the riots came from highly disadvantaged and fragmented urban communities.
Iain Duncan Smith, will talk about the importance of families to society; and explain how we can create better futures for our most disadvantaged children. Education, Sure Start for all ages, crime prevention, job training, outdoor space and youth activities all build community resilience.
Professor Anne Power and Professor Jane Waldfogel will respond.
Iain Duncan Smith has been Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions since the 2010 General Election. He has served as MP for the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency since April 1992 and has held a number of roles in Government, including Leader of the Opposition when he led the Conservative Party from September 2001 until November 2003. In 2004, he subsequently founded the influential think tank, the Centre for Social Justice, which worked to develop innovative policies on tackling poverty and welfare reform. In his early career, Iain Duncan Smith served in the Scots Guards and worked with the General Electric Company.
Anne Power has been involved in European and American housing and urban problems since 1965. In 1966, she worked with Martin Luther King's 'End Slums' campaign in Chicago, and, on her return to Britain, organised community-based projects in Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets. From 1979 to 1989, she worked for the Department of the Environment and Welsh Office, setting up Priority Estates Projects to rescue run-down estates all over the country. In 1991, she became founding director of the National Communities Resource Centre at Trafford Hall in Chester which provides residential training and pump priming support for people living and working in low-income communities, and is currently Chair. From 2000 to 2009, she was a Commissioner on the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC). She was awarded an MBE in 1983 for work in Brixton, and a CBE in June 2000 for services to regeneration and resident participation. Anne became a professor of Social Policy at LSE in 1996 and is Head of LSE Housing and Communities, a research group based within the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion. She works across Europe and in the USA and is a Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute for British Architects. She is author of many books, reports and articles on housing, cities and low-income communities.
Jane Waldfogel is Compton Foundation centennial professor for the Prevention of Children and Youth Problems at Columbia University School of Social Work and a visiting professor at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at LSE. She received her Ph.D. in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Jane has written extensively on the impact of public policies on child and family well-being. Her books include: Britain’s War on Poverty (Russell Sage Foundation, 2010); Steady Gains and Stalled Progress: Inequality and the Black-White Test Score Gap (Russell Sage Foundation, 2008); What Children Need (Harvard University Press, 2006); Securing the Future: Investing in Children from Birth to College (Russell Sage Foundation, 2000); and The Future of Child Protection: How to Break the Cycle of Abuse and Neglect (Harvard University Press, 1998). Her current research includes studies of work-family policies, improving the measurement of poverty, and understanding social mobility across countries.
Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #lsefamilies
A transcript of Iain Duncan's Smith's speech is available to download. Download 'Families and young people in troubled neighbourhoods' (PDF - should be viewed in Internet Explorer or Firefox).
A podcast of this event is available to download from Families and young people in troubled neighbourhoods.
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