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Housing, urban governance and anti-social behaviour

Housing, urban governance and anti-social behaviour: Perspectives, policy and practice

Edited by John Flint
Copyright Date: 2006
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Housing, urban governance and anti-social behaviour
    Book Description:

    This book is the first comprehensive volume exploring an issue of growing importance to policy makers, academics, housing practitioners and students. It brings together contributions from the most prominent scholars in the field to provide a range of theoretical perspectives, critical analysis and empirical research findings about the role of housing and urban governance in addressing anti-social behaviour. Contributors assess constructions of anti-social behaviour in policy discourse, identify how housing is increasingly central to the governance of anti-social behaviour and critically evaluate a wide range of measures used by housing and other agencies to tackle what is perceived to be a growing social problem. Although the book focuses on the UK, comparative international perspectives are provided from France, Australia and the United States. The book covers definitions of anti-social behaviour and policy responses including key new legislation and the legal role of social landlords in governing anti-social behaviour. There is comprehensive coverage of key measures including eviction, probationary tenancies, Anti-social Behaviour Orders, mediation and Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, and of innovative developments such as gated communities, intensive support services and the use of private security. Housing, urban governance and anti-social behaviour will be of interest to academics, policy-makers, practitioners and students in the fields of housing, urban studies, social policy, legal studies and criminology.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-162-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. List of tables, figures and photographs
    (pp. v-v)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vi-vi)
  5. Notes on contributors
    (pp. vii-x)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)
    John Flint

    On the morning after New Labour’s re-election in the UK in 2005, Prime Minister Tony Blair set out the government’s priorities. In his speech he said:

    I’ve been struck again and again in the course of this campaign by people’s worry that in our country … there is a disrespect that people don’t like. And whether it’s in the classroom or on the street, or our town centres on a Friday or Saturday night, I want to focus on this issue. We’ve done a lot so far with anti-social behaviour and increased numbers of police, but I want to make...

  7. Part 1: The definition and construction of anti-social behaviour in the UK

    • ONE Housing and the new governance of conduct
      (pp. 19-36)
      John Flint

      Anti-social behaviour (ASB) has emerged in recent years as a predominant concern for government, media discourse and social housing management in the UK, and a plethora of new legislation and management techniques have been introduced in order to tackle the problem. This chapter has three aims. Firstly, it seeks to place the governance of ASB within the wider context of emerging forms of governance in advanced liberal democracies in order to link studies of housing interventions to policy developments in policing and crime control. Secondly, the chapter aims to assess the extent to which current developments represent a ‘new’ housing...

    • TWO Governing tenants: from dreadful enclosures to dangerous places
      (pp. 37-56)
      Pauline Card

      As several other chapters in this volume identify (see Chapters One, Three and Seven), the response of social landlords to anti-social behaviour (ASB) by their tenants became more legalistic and authoritarian during the 1990s. However, there is a long history of housing management as a control technique, beginning with Octavia Hill in the late 19th century and continuing through the growth of council housing in the 20th century. The way in which ‘difficult’ or ‘problematic’ tenants have been defined has changed over time, as have the techniques or approaches adopted to deal with their behaviour.

      This chapter explores the different...

    • THREE Labelling: constructing definitions of anti-social behaviour?
      (pp. 57-78)
      Helen Carr and Dave Cowan

      In this chapter we consider the epistemic underpinnings of anti-social behaviour (ASB). We identify its struggle to become simultaneously technical and vernacular as well as provide the conditions for a certain convergence in the roles of experts, legislators, interpreters and mediators (Osborne, 2004). We suggest that ASB is not just a concept but also a ‘vehicular idea’, rather like the ‘third way’, through which a diverse set of ideas about crime and society become melded together, and are driven on by both rationality and critique. Ultimately, such ideas may be ‘utterly shallow and venal’, but the essence of a vehicular...

    • FOUR Anti-social behaviour: voices from the front line
      (pp. 79-98)
      Judy Nixon and Sadie Parr

      Politicians and the media share a growing concern with anti-social behaviour (ASB), which is presented as a plaguing, degenerative and urgent problem that must be tackled if the government is to achieve its aim of tackling social exclusion and revitalising the most deprived neighbourhoods:

      Anti-social behaviour blights people’s lives, destroys families and ruins communities. It holds back the regeneration of our disadvantaged areas and creates the environment in which crime can take hold. (Home Office, 2003, p 2)

      As the above extract from the 2003 White PaperRespect and Responsibility(Home Office, 2003) illustrates, much of the policy literature emanating...

    • FIVE Spaces of discipline and control: the compounded citizenship of social renting
      (pp. 99-116)
      Rowland Atkinson

      Safety is now top of both the domestic and international political agendas. A recent edition ofThe Economist(5 February 2005) gave front-cover prominence to the issue of anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the UK and drew parallels between it and international terrorism. One result of the high profile given to the crime and ASB agendas has been an attempt to locate and tackle those spaces most strongly associated with these problems via increasingly punitive measures. The aim of this chapter is to consider the way that an unwinding of this agenda has focused on areas of social rented housing through...

  8. Part 2: Legal techniques and measures utilised by social landlords to address anti-social behaviour

    • SIX Tenancy agreements: a mechanism for governing anti-social behaviour?
      (pp. 119-136)
      Diane Lister

      This chapter focuses on ‘the oldest, most common … of contractual relations’ (Englander, 1983, p 4), the relationship between landlord and tenant, and explores whether there is scope for tenancy agreements, as an embodiment of the legal relationship between contracting parties, to be used more effectively as a management tool to contribute towards preventing and controlling anti-social behaviour (ASB).

      The above quote by Cotterrell, highlighting the prominent distinctions between ideals of legal behaviour and actual social relations, seems highly appropriate to introduce a discussion about the role of the law as embodied in tenancy agreements shaping behaviour. This theme is...

    • SEVEN The changing legal framework: from landlords to agents of social control
      (pp. 137-154)
      Caroline Hunter

      In this chapter I examine how the legal framework in which social landlords operate in England and Wales has changed since 1996¹. This period has seen an enormous amount of legal change, offering social landlords one legal tool after another. It seems that social landlords are expected to implement a series of new measures with little time being available to assess the impact of previously introduced measures.

      As the chapters in this volume by Helen Carr and Dave Cowan (Chapter Three) and John Flint (Chapter One) illustrate, those providing social housing have historically always had some interest in the control...

    • EIGHT Social landlords, anti-social behaviour and countermeasures
      (pp. 155-176)
      Hal Pawson and Carol McKenzie

      The rising tide of counter-anti-social behaviour (ASB) legislation and the continuing salience of the issue in political and media debates in part reflect how unruly and yobbish behaviour blights some local communities. However, the prominence of ASB as a ‘national problem’ is also symptomatic of the government’s emphasis on communitarian approaches to social policy more generally (Driver and Martell, 2002; Martell et al, 2004) and an associated inclination to ‘talk up’ the issue as one demanding firm official countermeasures.

      The increasing prominence of countering ASB as a social landlord activity raises issues about the role of the housing manager as...

  9. Part 3: The emerging mechanisms of addressing anti-social behaviour in housing governance

    • NINE Evaluating the Shelter Inclusion Project: a floating support service for households accused of anti-social behaviour
      (pp. 179-198)
      Anwen Jones, Nicholas Pleace and Deborah Quilgars

      Social landlords in the UK have become more rigorous in responding to anti-social behaviour (ASB), partly reflecting increasing public expectations and central government priorities. There are no figures to indicate whether social landlords’ use of possession actions for ASB has risen in recent years but research has shown that the use of possession action and eviction is widespread (see Chapter Eight, this volume). More than two thirds of social landlords initiated possession actions in response to ASB in 2002/03, with more than a third implementing evictions on these grounds (ODPM, 2005). It has been suggested that figures may understate the...

    • TEN Tackling anti-social behaviour: an evaluation of the Dundee Families Project
      (pp. 199-218)
      Suzie Scott

      Although many social landlords have begun to take a preventative approach to anti-social behaviour (ASB), few landlords have developed intensive support services for families as a means of dealing with ASB (Scott et al, 2001; see Chapter Nine, this volume). This chapter provides an evaluation of an innovative approach to tackling ASB, based on a longitudinal study of the Dundee Families Project (Dillane et al, 2001). The Scottish Executive, Dundee City Council and NCH Action for Children Scotland jointly funded the research.

      The Dundee Families Project was established with government Urban Programme funding to assist families who are homeless or...

    • ELEVEN Policing and community safety in residential areas: the mixed economy of visible patrols
      (pp. 219-238)
      Adam Crawford

      A recurring theme of this book is that the control of tenants’ conduct and the policing of social behaviour have been ever-present features of social landlordism from the late Victorian era onwards. Since the 1990s, however, there has been a renewed preoccupation in social housing management with responding to tenants’ anxieties about crime and victimisation and with governing anti-social behaviour (ASB). In England and Wales, social landlords have been drawn into local partnerships focused around crime prevention and community safety and have been encouraged to assume greater responsibility for ensuring safe and secure environments for their tenants. In support of...

    • TWELVE Gated communities: a response to, or remedy for, anti-social behaviour?
      (pp. 239-256)
      Sarah Blandy

      Gated communities¹ hold out the promise of a sanitised residential cocoon, from which anti-social behaviour (ASB) can be excluded if perpetrated by outsiders, or controlled through internal regulation if residents are involved. This chapter examines the validity of this promise and how gated communities, which are increasingly seen in areas of social rented housing as well as in affluent private housing neighbourhoods, fit within the current government policy agenda, which positions housing in general as central to neighbourhood renewal. The privatised and collectively managed space of gated communities seems to foreshadow the devolved neighbourhood governance and community ownership of housing...

  10. Part 4: Studies of housing and anti-social behaviour from an international perspective

    • THIRTEEN Housing and anti-social behaviour in Australia
      (pp. 259-280)
      Kathy Arthurson and Keith Jacobs

      Since the 1980s social housing in Australia has, as in the UK, increasingly become the tenure for individuals with limited incomes and high levels of social need. Further, the growing residualisation of social housing has meant that the poorest sections of the community are concentrated into smaller geographical localities. As several of the chapters on Britain in this volume describe, contemporary social housing estates accommodate disproportionately large numbers of households suffering from mental illness and exhibiting characteristics associated with poverty and stress. The intensive needs of many tenants result in a new set of challenges for housing managers in terms...

    • FOURTEEN Testing urban forms: city, control and ‘urban violence’ in France
      (pp. 281-300)
      Olivier Ratouis and Jérôme Boissonade

      The prolonged riots and disturbances in several French cities in October and November 2005 focused attention on urban tensions and disorder among young people, and particularly minority ethnic groups, living in deprived peripheral housing estates; while President Chirac’s response calling for renewed ‘respect’ mirrored the language of Prime Minister Tony Blair in the UK (Henley, 2005). The term ‘urban violence’ is one of the dominant contemporary expressions used in France to describe and define society and the deviant behaviour of some of its members in particular locations. It offers a suitable conceptual framework for understanding the specific nature of national...

    • FIFTEEN Residential stability among adolescents in public housing: a risk factor for delinquent and violent behaviour?
      (pp. 301-324)
      Timothy O. Ireland, Terence P. Thornberry and Rolf Loeber

      Renewed interest in understanding the links between public housing and crime is evidenced by recent research in Australia (Weatherburn et al, 1999), Canada (DeKeseredy et al, 2003), the UK (Bottoms and Wiles, 1986; Bottoms et al, 1992; Flint, 2002), and the US (Popkin et al, 2000; Santiago et al, 2002; Ireland et al, 2003). The general consensus is that areas where public housing is located have higher rates of official crime or reported victimisation. The opinion that public housing is crime-ridden is reflected in several local and federal initiatives in the US that are directed at controlling crime and drugs...

    • SIXTEEN Conclusion
      (pp. 325-334)
      John Flint

      This concluding chapter identifies the key themes that have emerged across the contributions in this book and sets out an agenda for future research into housing, urban governance and anti-social behaviour (ASB).

      The concept of ASB is constructed by a large number of actors working through various mechanisms. Much of the current policy emphasis is on operationalising ASB, both through providing legally and practically applicable definitions and through attempts to quantify the extent of such conduct and trends in its growth or reduction. However, some of the difficulties that government and professional bodies have faced in these attempts reflect, firstly,...

  11. Index
    (pp. 335-350)