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Meeting the Demand for Affordable Housing in England, the Netherlands and France

Part 1 Dissertation 2006
Clare Nugent
University of Nottingham
This study questions to what extent current government policies and stakeholders within the building industry in England aim to address affordable housing issues in a politically, economic, environmental and socially sustainable way. The study examines the role of key stakeholders in the provision of affordable housing and addresses key issues including, supply and demand, cost, provision of land, use of Section 106 planning gain and housing quality. Information for the study was largely collected from primary sources, including interviews with officials and site visits. In order to limit any subjective bias the primary research is supported by literary reviews.

Issues concerning the provision of affordable housing in England have become increasingly topical in recent years and remain high on political, economic, social and environmental agendas. In 2004 Kate Barker highlighted, in her Review of Housing Supply, that the provision of affordable housing is currently inadequate to meet demand. Furthermore, in 2005 The Urban Task Force argued, in Towards a Strong Urban Renaissance, that, despite a number of exemplar housing developments, such schemes remain rare, and the overall standard of affordable housing being produced is relatively low.

The Netherlands, in contrast, has a well developed social housing sector and is now experiencing an over supply of social housing. The majority of residents in the Netherlands rent their housing and in many areas extensive land leasing policies exist. The government is currently promoting home ownership and the housing associations have adopted a rotational system of renewal for existing social housing developments, in order to maintain the overall quality of the social housing stock.

The social housing sector in France is less well developed than England and the Netherlands. Social ghettos have formed resulting in riots in recent years, and the coining of the term ‘concrete suburbs,’ in many French cities.

Through a comparison of the affordable housing sectors in England, the Netherlands and France, and analysis of case studies from each country, with particular reference to design quality, recommendations are made for the future of England’s affordable housing sector.

Clare Nugent


The dissertation, which I do highly commend, addresses a topical issue and stems from the ongoing government and academic debates on the provision of high quality affordable homes. This is an outstanding piece of research which has been succinctly written. The methodological direction adds robustness to not only the research approach but also to the relevance of its findings.
A further strength of this dissertation is its international dimension which gives it an added flavour where the student carefully teases out some of the cross-border policy issues notably from France and Holland and through exemplars. The research highlights the critical role that housing providers such as Housing Associations play in this area.

2006
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