Not available in 2022/23
SP435      Half Unit
Housing, Neighbourhoods and Communities

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof John Hills OLD 2.62


This course is available on the MSc in City Design and Social Science, MSc in International Social and Public Policy, MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Development), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (LSE and Fudan), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Migration), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Non-Governmental Organisations) and MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Research). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All Social Policy Courses are ‘Controlled Access’. Please see the link below for further details on the allocation process.


There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Course content

This course introduces MSc students to the links between housing, neighbourhoods and social and public policies, in the context of housing systems in the UK, Europe and North America.  It examines: how housing and neighbourhoods have evolved in UK and Europe, and contrasts in the USA; the rise of mass housing estates, the role of government and housing management; housing markets – supply, demand, need and affordability; owner-occupation and taxation; sustaining neighbourhoods through upgrading, and dangers of segregation and gentrification; housing wealth and assets, inheritance and polarisation; private renting, housing benefits and regulation; social housing, subsidies, rents and affordability; community-led and community-based housing; sustainable housing solutions, retrofit, fuel poverty and energy saving.  The course uses live case studies to illustrate the main themes.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 3 hours of lectures and 3 hours of seminars in the ST.

There are also organised site/project visits. The course provides many case study examples for students to draw on.

Formative coursework

Students participate actively in seminars, make two class presentations and complete one formative essay, drawing on case study evidence.

Students are invited to join site visits which illustrate key housing themes.

Indicative reading

  • A. Power From Hovels to High Rise, 1993; Estates on the Edge, 1999.
  • L. Hanley Estates: a personal history, 2004.
  • J. Hills Ends And Means: The Future Roles Of Social Housing In England, 2007.
  • A. Power et al. Jigsaw Cities 2007; Cities for a Small Continent, 2016.
  • R.Lupton et al Social Policy in a Cold Climate, 2016.
  • H. Glennerster Understanding the Cost of Welfare 2017.
  • A. Power and B. Provan, Overcoming the stigma of social housing, 2018.


Exam (66.7%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (33.3%, 2000 words) in the LT.

Essay based on a housing case study or policy initiative

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Controlled access 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills