On Thursday 14th December I attended an event at the University of Birmingham titled “Citizen Power and Housing: How Can the Disconnect Between Communities and Housing Agencies Be Addressed?” The panel consisted of people who had been involved in Birmingham’s Urban Renewal Program in the 70s and 80s, and looked at the extent and quality of public involvement in community planning over that period – in contrast to the diktats of central planners before and after that period.
I noted the superficial nature of Birmingham City Council’s “consultation” with the people of Druids Heath, regarding the redevelopment of the area; and the fact that while the redevelopment entails a certain overall reduction in housing, council housing is being drastically reduced. Further, there is no “right of return” for existing residents. I also plugged Brum Cohousing!
I enjoyed informal networking opportunities, including with John Goodman, Chair of UK Cohousing, and with someone interested in the public health implications of housing who had ties to the West Midlands Combined Authority, and passed on to me a contact in the WMCA’s Housing and Regeneration directorate.
In summer HCRN will be hosting an event to talk about some research that has been going on, comparing the alternative housing sectors in the UK and in Austria. I’ll keep people posted so they can come along if they wish.