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This page introduces Quintin Bradley’s  research into key issues of housing and planning policy. You can find links to my papers published in academic journals. You can download an ‘author’s version’ of most journal articles.

2017

Localism & Neighbourhood Planning: power to the people?

By Sue Brownill and Quintin Bradley (2017) Bristol. Policy Press

2016

The Impact of Neighbourhood Planning and Localism on House-building in England,

by Quintin Bradley & William Sparling (2016) Housing, Theory and Society, DOI:10.1080/14036096.2016.1197852

The devolution of governance to communities is an integral aspect of the state strategy of localism but may conflict with a spatial restructuring dedicated to the liberalization of economic growth.  In England community opposition to house-building has been cited as one of the key factors in the decline in new housing supply over the last decade.  The policy of neighbourhood planning was introduced there in 2011 to overcome this opposition by devolving limited powers to communities to influence development. It was anticipated that giving communities the right to draw up neighbourhood development plans would secure their compliance with a pro-growth agenda and increase the number of sites allocated for housing. This paper explores the impact of neighbourhood planning in England on housing development and analyses its lessons for the state strategy of localism. It argues that neighbourhood planning is emerging as the proponent of sustainability and social purpose in the English housing market, in conflict with the corporate interests of a liberalised housing development market. Neighbourhood planning and house-building_final

2015

Sustainable Communities and the new patchwork politics of place

By Quintin Bradley and David Haigh.In Dastbaz, M & I Strange (2015) Building Sustainable Futures: Design and the Built Environment. Springer Press

The pairing of community and sustainable development has dominated the international policy agenda for at least three decades with its assertion that the imperatives of capital accumulation can be balanced for the needs of social reproduction. The community provides a model of sustainability in which the economics of collective consumption and the politics of community action can be engaged in the planning and stewardship of local development. The strategies of sustainable communities that result combine the market zeal of spatial liberalism with themes of redistributive justice and equality. This chapter identifies these competing strands in government strategies for sustainable communities in England and particularly the programme of neighbourhood planning introduced from 2011 in which the sustainable community was positioned as the regulator of development and a reassuringly familiar substitute for the welfare state. We argue that through this programme responsibility for achieving environmental and social sustainability was largely abandoned by the state and relegated to the domestic networks of the community. We explore the definition of sustainability that emerged from communities and their neighbourhood plans. In attempts by neighbourhood planning groups to establish innovative strategies of participation and community management we evidence the continuance of claims of redistribution and spatial equality in the concept of sustainability. In this unequal geography of community initiatives, we chart the development of a new patchwork politics of place.Building Sustainable Futures chapter_Final

 

The political identities of neighbourhood planning in England

Bradley, Q (2015)  Space and Polity. First published on 2 June 2015 DOI:10.1080/13562576.2015.1046279

Abstract

The collective empowerment imagined in the government rhetoric of localism bears little resemblance to the market model of aggregative democracy that characterises much of the practice of participation in spatial planning. This paper explores one of the rare statutory strategies to engage collective participation and to mobilise the neighbourhood as an institution of spatial planning. In a study of neighbourhood planning in England it investigates the new political identities that emerged and the conflicts and antagonism that accompanied them. Drawing on the work of philosopher Chantal Mouffe, the paper explores the significance of the political practices that resulted for the state strategy of localism. Political identities of neighbourhood planning_final

2014

Bringing democracy back home: community localism and the domestication of political space

Bradley, Q (2014) Environment & Planning D: Society & Space. Vol.32 No. 4: 642-657

Abstract

Strategies of localism have constituted the community as a metaphor for democracy and empowerment as part of a wider reordering of state institutions and state power. In conflating the smallest scale with increased participation, however, community localism provides a framework through which the power of socio-spatial positioning might be made vulnerable to resistance and change. This paper identifies four spatial practices through which marginalised communities apply the technology of localism to challenge the limitations of their positioning and imprint promises of empowerment and democracy on space. Drawing on the work of Judith Butler the paper theorises these practices as the incursion into the public realm of regulatory norms related to domestic and private spaces, rendering political space familiar and malleable, and suggesting that power and decision-making can be brought within reach. It is argued that these spatial practices of community rehearse a more fundamental transformation of the political ordering of space than that authorised by the state strategies of localism. Bringing_democracy_back_home_authors_version

 

Tenants’ campaigns for tenure neutrality and a general needs model of social housing: making universal claims

Quintin Bradley (2014):  International Journal of Housing Policy, DOI: 10.1080/14616718.2014.908569

Abstract

The policy of tenure neutrality championed by the International Union of Tenants as essential to a right to adequate housing advances a model of general needs or universal social rented housing provision unrestricted by income limits or needs-based rationing. Support for this model has been severely undermined by recent European Commission rulings that have restricted access to social housing to those least capable of coping in a competitive market place. As general needs demand for affordable housing continues to swell, the challenge for adherents of tenure neutrality is to demonstrate that universal social housing can meet both the needs of the most vulnerable and the demands of those excluded from homeownership by price inflation and credit limits. This paper examines the promotion of universal social housing by tenants’ organisations and challenges the extent to which this model is intended ‘for all’. In a case study of the defence of municipal housing by English tenants’ movements it identifies the exclusionary narratives that render the particular housing needs of advantaged social groups as universal. The paper concludes by reviewing strategies to resolve the tensions between the universal and the particular to reinvigorate support for tenure neutrality in arguments for widening access and supply of social housing. Universal Claims_author’s version

 

2013

‘Putting our mark on things’: the identity work of user participation in public services

Bradley, Q (2013) Critical Social Policy. First published on January 29, 2013 as doi:10.1177/0261018312468306

Abstract

New relationships between service users and the welfare state have emerged as a result of governmental strategies of public service reform in which participation has appeared as the cure for a putative welfare dependency. A new public has been invoked in technologies of governance which have conflated responsible citizenship with participation in the marketplace and have aimed to change the behaviour of welfare service users accordingly. This paper investigates the ability of welfare service users to resist, or amend, the disciplinary intentions of these discourses, to constitute ‘counter-publics’, and to formulate their own visions of public services. Drawing on research with English social housing tenants engaged in participation with their quasi-public landlords, and applying a theoretical framework based on the work of feminist and queer theorist Judith Butler, the paper explores the behavioural effects of participation on tenants and evidences their use of consumerist and communitarian discourses to construct alternative perceptions of a ‘public’, and re-imagine their relationship with public services. IdentityWork_inUserParticipation_author_version

2012

Proud to be a tenant: the construction of common cause among residents in social housing

Bradley, Q (2012)  Housing Studies. Vol. 27. No. 8: 1124-1141

Abstract

This paper demonstrates the assemblage of a distinctive body of combative beliefs among social housing tenants in England engaged in formal participation with their landlords. Applying the social movement diagnostic of frame analysis, the paper identifies three ‘collective identity frames’ that signify the construction of common cause among a diverse and fragmented tenant population. These frames celebrate social housing as a public good, promote grass-roots decision-making, and advocate direct democracy to public services. They champion local knowledge and local services and articulate a commitment to collective action and collective provision that opposes itself to the individualising discourse of the market. While a lack of unity characterises the organisation of social housing tenants, this assemblage of contentious claims may signify the continuation of narratives of a tenants’ movement and indicate the cautious mobilisation of a distinctive ‘counter-discourse’ in housing policy. Proud_to_be_a_Tenant_2012

A “Performative Social Movement”: the emergence of collective contentions within collaborative governance

Bradley, Q (2012)  Space & Polity. Vol.16. No.2: 215-232

Abstract

The enmeshment of urban movements in networks of collaborative governance has been characterised as a process of co-option in which previously disruptive contentions are absorbed by regimes and reproduced in ways that do not threaten the stability of power relations. Applying a theoretical framework drawn from feminist philosopher Judith Butler this paper directs attention to the development of collective oppositional identities that remain embedded in conventional political processes. In a case study of the English tenants’ movement it investigates the potential of regulatory discourses that draw on market theories of performative voice to offer the collectivising narratives and belief in change that can generate the emotional identification of a social movement. The paper originates the concept of the ‘performative social movement’ to denote the contentious claims that continue to emerge from urban movements that otherwise appear quiescent. PerformativeSocialMovement

2010

Trouble at the Top: The Construction of a Tenant Identity in the Governance of Social Housing Organizations.

Bradley, Q. (2010)  Housing, Theory and Society. First published on: 16 July 2010 (iFirst)

Abstract

The project of citizen governance has transformed the social housing sector in England where 20,000 tenants now sit as directors on the boards of housing associations, but the entrance of social housing tenants to the boardroom has aroused opposition from the chief executives of housing companies and triggered regulatory intervention from government inspectors. This paper investigates the cause of these tensions through a theoretical framework drawn from the work of feminist philosopher Judith Butler. It interprets housing governance as an identificatory project with the power to constitute tenant directors as regulated subjects, and presents evidence to suggest that this project of identity fails to completely enclose its subject, allowing tenant directors to engage in ‘identity work’ that threatens the supposed unity of the board. The paper charts the development of antagonism and political tension in the board rooms of housing companies to present an innovative account of the construction and contestation of identities in housing governance. Trouble_at_the_Top_HTSVol28No1

2008

Capturing the Castle: tenant governance in social housing companies

Bradley, Q (2008) Housing Studies. Vol. 23, No. 6 879-897

Abstract

In the contemporary landscape of social housing in Britain, the role of tenants on the governing boards of housing companies continues to be seen as deeply problematic. While tenant directors are recruited to bring a market-like influence to social housing governance, they appear to be approaching their positions as directors in a way that is contrary to the drive towards management efficiency. This paper adopts a social constructionist approach to recast the institutions of housing governance as contested articulations of ideology and the ‘problem’ of tenant board members as a hegemonic clash between discourses of governance. It concludes that tenant directors act as a significant dynamic in the political construction of social housing today. Capturing_the_Castle_HSVol28No6