Book Review: Municipal Dreams – The Rise and Fall of Council Housing. *
John Boughton provides a comprehensive but readable history of council housing in Britain (although the focus is on England) from its origins in the Fabian socialism of the newly formed London County Council of 1890’s to the present day. In doing so he charts the major factors that have influenced society’s views on council housing over the past 130 years and asks questions about the future of social housing in a globalised economy where social mobility cannot now be taken for granted.
A proper debate on council housing is needed. Society needs to arrive at a consensus, perhaps by answering the following questions, should social/council housing;
• Create genuinely mixed communities
• Encourage social mobility and equal opportunities
• Respond to the changing needs of tenants and promote geographical mobility
As a postscript, Boughton’s book is also an excellent guide to some of the architectural successes and failures of council housing and pays homage to far-sighted councils such as Camden and Norwich who have been exemplars in their field.
More detailed review here: John Boughton -Book Review
*Municipal Dreams – The Rise and Fall of Council Housing. John Boughton. Verso, 2019. £9.99