IHURER News – September 2013

Welcome to the first edition of the IHURER Newsletter, where we will share with you news from the Institute, recent publications and conference appearances and dates for your diary. We aim to send you a newsletter on a bi-annual basis, and we hope you enjoy it.Kind regards,Professor Glen Bramley, Director of IHURERSign up to receive the biannual IHURER newsletterSanctions, Support and Behaviour Change: Understanding the Role and Impact of Welfare Conditionality IHURER, in collaboration with four other UK universities, has been awarded an ESRC large grant to conduct a major study on the efficacy and ethicality of conditional welfare policies. The use of conditional welfare arrangements that combine elements of sanction and support in order to influence the behaviour of welfare recipients is an established element within welfare, housing, criminal justice and immigration policies. This five year research project creates a collaborative, international and interdisciplinary focal point for social science research on welfare conditionality by establishing an original and comprehensive evidence base across a range of social policy fields and diverse groups of welfare service users.The study, led by Professor Peter Dwyer, University of York, will be informed by a comprehensive review of relevant academic literature, statistical data sources and policy documents, an international expert seminar series and consultation workshops with welfare service users and practitioners. The main fieldwork components comprise:

· 40 semi-structured interviews with ‘elite’ policy makers and actors.

· 24 focus groups (each with 6-10 respondents) with frontline welfare practitioners who implement policy.

· 1,440 repeated qualitative interviews with a diverse sample of 480 welfare service users subject to welfare conditionality i.e. this longitudinal element of the study will involve interviewing each participant three times over a two-year period.

Fieldwork will be undertaken in a variety of urban locations in England and Scotland. Led by Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, the IHURER team on the project also involves Dr Sarah Johnsen, Dr Beth Watts and David Watkins. IHURER will be involved in all aspects of the project, with a particular focus on the conceptual, theoretical and normative aspects of the study.

UK Poverty Worst in 30 Years

On March 29th, the Poverty and Social Exclusion (PSE) Team, of which IHURER is a member, released its stark first findings. The study revealed that over half a million UK children and over 3.5 million adults cannot afford to eat properly, and one in three households lack several minimum necessities of life. These results are bleaker than in than in any of the three previous PSE surveys in 1983, 1990 and 1999. Aside from being the largest study of poverty and deprivation ever conducted in the UK, the PSE Survey is unique in that asked the public what they think should be part of a minimum standard of living and measures poverty accordingly.

Within the six university team, IHURER’s Professor Glen Bramley and Dr Kirsten Besemer are particularly responsible for local services, housing, neighbourhoods, education and financial inclusion, and the way poverty in Scotland differs from the rest of the UK.

The results of the PSE study were broadcast on ITV, Thursday, 28 March, in a special ‘Tonight’ programme on ‘Breadline Britain’, followed by dozens of articles in national and local newspapers, as well as coverage on BBC Radio Scotland.  Speaking in the Herald Glen Bramley said, “The situation is already serious, but it is set to get worse as benefit levels fall in real terms, as real wages continue a three year decline and as living standards are further squeezed”.

Further information on this study can be found on the PSE website.

Housing and Poverty Over the Lifecourse

IHURER has been selected by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to conduct research on the links between housing and poverty over the lifecourse, as part of its Housing and Poverty Research Programme. Led by Professors Mark Stephens and Chris Leishman, the team will examine how the experiences of five cohorts of households have evolved since the early 1990s. It will then make projections for the next 25 years, taking into account changing labour markets, demography and tenure.

The team also includes Sheffield University academics Dr Alasdair Rae and Dr Ed Ferrari, who will be providing analysis on the spatial distribution of housing and poverty.

The UK Homelessness Monitor
The UK Homelessness Monitor is a five year, IHURER-led study which aims to provide an independent analysis of the homelessness impacts of economic and policy developments across the UK. Starting in 2011 with a report on England, the series has now expanded to include annual editions for each of the UK nations. Homelessness Monitors for England, Scotland and Wales are already available, and the first Northern Ireland Homelessness Monitor is due for publication later this year. The IHURER team working on the series includes Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Beth Watts and Glen Bramley, with Steve Wilcox (University of York) and Hal Pawson (University of New South Wales) also joint authors. The UK Homelessness Monitor is funded by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and all reports can be downloaded free from the Crisis website.

ENHR Conference Comes to Edinburgh

The European Network for Housing Research (ENHR) conference is coming to Edinburgh in 2014. IHURER led a bid on behalf of four Scottish universities and the Chartered Institute of Housing to bring the conference to Scotland for the first time since 1994. Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said, “I would like to congratulate you and your colleagues on this achievement. This is excellent news… I very much welcome this opportunity to showcase the achievements of Scottish housing policy and the research strengths of Scottish Universities.”

The conference theme will be “Beyond Globalisation: remaking housing policy in a complex world” and the plenary sessions will be organised around the themes of People, Place, Money, Land and Home. It will also feature a special session devoted to Scottish housing policy.  Chair of the conference committee, Mark Stephens, said “Edinburgh is a fantastic city for a conference. But we will also give delegates the opportunity to experience more of Scotland and are developing study tours for Glasgow and Dundee.”

The conference will take place on 1-4 July, with a special event for doctoral students and early career researchers beginning on 30 June.

Professor Mark Stephens Inaugural Lecture
Date for your Diary

Professor Mark Stephens will deliver his inaugural lecture, ‘After the Iron Curtain. Housing in Post-Socialist Europe’ on Thursday 31 October 2013, from 4pm.

Further details will be issued in due course.

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick’s research visit to Australia

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick made a two week trip to Australia at the invitation of the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) in Melbourne, and gave the keynote address at their national conference, held on 2-3 May, entitled ‘Ending and Preventing Homelessness: Effective Responses and Multiple Exclusion’. She also gave another plenary speech at this conference entitled ‘Multiple Exclusion Homelessness in the UK’. During her week in Melbourne as the guest of CHP, Suzanne met with senior officials and politicians of both the Victoria State and Australian Governments, and made presentations to the Government of Victoria ‘Ministerial Advisory Council on Homelessness’ and the board of ‘Homelessness Australia’ (the national umbrella body for homelessness services). Also on the same trip Suzanne gave seminars at both the University of New South Wales, Sydney (8th May), and the University of Queensland, Brisbane (9th May) on ”Housing rights’ and ‘rights to housing’: exploring moral and legal discourses in an era of growing welfare conditionality in the UK’. She participated in an Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) housing research event on ‘Improving Service Interventions for People at Risk of, or Experiencing, Homelessness’, in Sydney on 6th May.


In January, IHURER launched a blog to share news, publications and insights from on-going research projects. The IHURER Research and Policy Blog is visited over 1000 times a month from 80 different countries, and features weekly articles from IHURER staff and selected postgraduate students. Interested readers can sign up for updates by email.

PhD Scholarships

IHURER is looking forward to welcoming six new PhD students for the 2013/14 session following a successful call for scholarship applications. Two students will be working with Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick on research linked to the ESRC large grant ‘Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change: Understanding the Role and Impact of Welfare Conditionality’. Two students will work with Dr Neil Dunse on topics relating to ‘Sustainability and Commercial Property Values’ and one will work with Professor Colin Jones on ‘Green Energy and Economic Growth’. The final student, who was awarded a competitive scholarship through the ESRC Scottish Graduate School for Social Sciences, will be working with Professor Mark Stephens on the ‘Impacts of the Housing Benefit Welfare Reform’.

Next year’s scholarships will be advertised on our website in January 2014.

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Selected 2013 PublicationsFitzpatrick, S., Bramley, G. & Johnsen, S. Pathways into multiple exclusion homelessness in seven UK cities. Urban Studies. Vol.50 (1) p.148-168.Dunse, N., Thanos, S. & Bramley, G. Planning policy, housing density and consumer preferences. Journal of Property Research. vol.30 (3) p.221-238.Fitzpatrick, S. & Pawson, H. Ending Security of Tenure for Social Renters: Transitioning to ‘Ambulance Service’ Social Housing? Housing Studies. Epub. ahead of print.Gibb, K. MacLennan, D .& Stephens, M. Innovative Financing for Affordable Housing, York: Joseph Rowntree FoundationJohnsen, S. & Fitzpatrick, S. The importance of researchers’ own religious or non-religious stance. In: How to Research Religion: Putting Methods Into Practice. Woodhead, L. (ed.). Oxford University Press.

Parsell, C., Fitzpatrick, S. & Busch-Geertsema, V. Common Ground in Australia: An Object Lesson in Evidence and Hierarchies and Policy Transfer. Housing Studies. Epub. ahead of print.

Watts, B. Rights, needs and stigma: a comparison of homelessness policy in Scotland and Ireland. European Journal of Homelessness. vol.7 (1) p. 41-68.

Jones, C. A. Office Markets & Public Policy (Real Estate Issues). Wiley-Blackwell.

Jones, C. A. & Coombes, M. An assessment of tenure-specific housing market areas for housing planning. Housing Studies. Epub. ahead of print.

Leishman, C., Costello, G., Rowley, S. & Watkins, C. The predictive performance of multi-level models of housing submarkets: a comparative analysis. Urban Studies vol.50 (6) p.1201-1220.

Bretherton, J., Hunter, C. & Johnsen, S. “You can judge them by how they look..”. Homelessness officers, medical evidence and decision-making in England. European Journal of Homelessness. vol.7 (1) p.69-92.

McWilliams, C. Planning for the community? The early experiences of the implementation of Edinburgh City Council’s Community Plan. Local Economy. vol.28 (5).

Recent IHURER Conference Participation

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick gave a keynote address to the International Homelessness Research Conference, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia on 3-4 June, profiling homelessness policy and research in the UK. She also co-presented a paper with Dr Cameron Parsell (University of Queensland, Australia) and Dr Volker Busch-Geertsema (GISS, Bremen, Germany) on ‘Common Ground in Australia: Evidence Free Policy Transfer?’.

Dr Sarah Johnsen and Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick gave plenaries and coordinated workshops at the Housing First Europe final conference in Amsterdam, 13-14 June. This event reported on the conclusions of a European Commission funded ‘social experimentation’ project which pulled together findings and lessons learned from pilot Housing First projects in five ‘test sites’ and a further five ‘peer sites’ across Europe.

IHURER was well represented at the European Network for Housing Research (ENHR) Conference in Tarragona, 20-23 June. Professor Mark Stephens gave a plenary on ‘The Housing Crisis in Europe’ and presented a paper on housing reform in China. Professor Glen Bramley presented a paper on ‘The role of housing in the impoverishment of Britain’ and Dr Kirsten Besemer presented ‘The social distribution of homelessness in Scotland’.

At the  recent RC-43 conference hosted by the University of Amsterdam, from 8-12 July, Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick and Professor Bo Bengtsson  (University of Uppsala, Sweden) gave a joint presentation based on a paper also co-authored with Dr Beth Watts, entitled ‘Rights, Citizenship and Housing: Reviewing the Terrain and Exploring a Middle Way’.

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick gave a plenary at the Housing Studies Association (HSA) Conference, York, 10-12 April, on ‘Housing rights’ and ‘rights to housing’: exploring moral and legal discourses in an era of growing welfare conditionality”.

Dr Beth Watts and Dr Kirsten Besemer also presented at the HSA conference, Beth on ‘Discourses around homelessness in Scotland and Ireland: What difference do legal rights make and why does it matter?‘ and Kirsten on ‘The “pink pound” in the ”gaybourhood”? Neighbourhood deprivation and sexual orientation in Scotland‘.

Professor Mark Stephens gave a Keynote address on ‘Perspectives on China’ at the Social Housing in Globalising Urban Contexts workshop, University of Vienna, 5-6 April.

Professor Colin Jones, Dr Neil Dunse and Dr Nicola Livingstone presented a paper on ‘The Restructuring of the Institutional Real Estate Portfolio in the UK’ at the European Real Estate Society (ERES) annual conference in Vienna, 3-6 July. Nicola also presented a further paper on ‘Charity and Retailing: Economic Discourses of Uneven Geographies’ and Colin Elliot presented ‘Corporate Real Estate Incorporating Sustainability’. During this conference Colin Jones was also invited to join an international panel at a special session on the housing market.

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick gave a plenary presentation entitled ‘Trends in Homelessness: Who is Falling Through the Net?’ at Homeless Link’s 2013 national conference, held at the University of Reading on 15th July.