Since starting this blog I have been approached by a number of University students asking for information about housing design, housing estates, and related matters. Rather than creating a new list each time I am putting the list here.


Manor Estate Sheffield

The category groupings that follow are general owing to the overlap in subject matter among the papers many of which fall into more than one category. This rather arbitrary list is intended as a starting point for your housing research and is by no means a definitive guide.

Foundation reading

Graham Towers thesis – this above all

Re-forming multi-storey housing: the regeneration of urban housing estates in Britain

Christoper W. Bacon

Streets in the Sky: The rise and fall of the Modern architectural Utopia

although I haven’t yet read this Anne Power is always worth listening to

Anne Power thesis

The development of unpopular council housing estates and attempted remedies

[Towers and Power HT @municipaldreams]

Prof Michael Edwards UCL on the housing crisis

The housing crisis: too difficult or a great opportunity?


Housing standards and design

Homes for Today and Tomorrow – Parker Morris committee 1961

Interim London Housing Design Guide – Alex Ely MAE August 2010

London housing SPG – Mayor of London

London County Council architects department – Elain Harwood

The failure of housing – Nicholas Taylor

The Village in the City – Nicholas Taylor 1973

Review of a speech by A.W. Cleeve-Barr to the RIBA in the 1960s


Defensible Space

Defensible Space – Oscar Newman

Utopia on Trial – Alice Coleman

The Psychology of Housing – Alice Coleman pdf here


Wordle from Planned housing as a social trap

Design Disadvantagement – Alice Coleman -> get pdf here

Planned housing as a social trap – Alice Coleman

City of Alice’s dreams – Bill Hillier

Poverty and Depressed Estates: Critique – Utopia on Trial – Paul Spicker

Review of Utopia on Trial from a blogger – Known Pleasures blog

Writing on the Wall – Horizon 1974 – Youtube


Regeneration and gentrification

The Affordable Housing Con – London Tenants Federation

Staying Put: An Anti-Gentrification Handbook – Prof Loretta Lees

Housing and sustainability: demolition or refurbishment? – Prof Anne Power

Regeneration Realities Urban Pamphleteer #2 – Prof Loretta Lees P.6

Demolition or refurbishment of social housing? – UCL Urban Lab


Case studies

The death of a housing ideal  – Heygate


Overspill policy and the Glasgow Slum Clearance Project in the Twentieth
Century: From One Nightmare to Another?

History, politics and vulnerability: explaining excess mortality in Scotland and Glasgow

Tenements by Ian Jack

An essay on the provision of council housing, with special reference to Killingworth – P J Taylor

Decolonizing the New Town:
Roy Gazzard and the Making of Killingworth Township

Killingworth towers – photographs

Hulme Crescents – Peter Shapley

Estate Regeneration – Mozart – Lowenfeld – pages

Estate Regeneration – Mozart – Westminster

Tackling Vandalism – Sheena Wilson and others 1976

Hackney Vandal Patrol (Kingsmead) 1976 – Sheena Wilson appears in the film

The Essex Design Guide – thanks to much missed Adil Hussein


Politics and Society

The Death and Life of Great American Cities – Jane Jacobs 1961

Family and Kinship in East London – Wilmott & Young 1957

Where will we live? – James Meek

Thatcher’s legacy is in ruins, but Britain is still in its thrall – Seamus Milne

What is living and what is dead in social democracy? – Tony Judt

Professor Judt changes trains – Obituary by Geoffrey Wheatcroft TLS

Despair on the frontline of Britain’s homelessness crisis – Shelter

Social housing and tenant participation – History & Policy


The Seventies

How Jim Callaghan changed the world – Neil Clark

The Tory years – a view from Wings over Scotland

James Callaghan: a great PM – from the Guardian


Right to buy

Safe as houses – John Harris

Frank Field in the Guardian and my response



London: the unique city – Peter Hall – from City Villages

Estates: an Intimate History – Lynsey Hanley – Independent review

Do sties make pigs? – Theodore Dalrymple

The New Brutalism – Reyner Banham

New Brutalism – Dr John W Nixon

The Paul Watt papers – Dr Paul Watt



There are so many but you might like to begin with these:-

Housing Problems 1935 – watch this first

City of Towers – BBC 1979 – review here – History of Modernism

High Rise Dreams – BBC 2003 – review here – Miscellany

Homes for Heroes – BBC 2005 – review here – Miscellany

A Home of your own – BBC 1995 – review here – Birmingham

The Pruitt Igoe Myth – on Youtube

n.b. With gratitude to the staff of University College London for their assistance.

One Response to “Student reading list – housing”

  1. Enes Says:

    You helped with my essay on mass housing not too long ago, and I came here to see if you could recommend some reading for me – as I’m still very much interested on the topic. Found it funny that you made this list – glad to see you’re still blogging.


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