Ethnic and gender divisions in tenant participation in public housing
The aim of this investigation is to analyse the decision-making processes in housing in order to see the extent tenants are able to participate in these processes. Of particular interest to this examination are the ethnic and gender divisions in these processes. Thus, this thesis deals with the question of public housing and those theoretical and practical issues that provide an understanding of the relationship between social space and physical space; the complex relationship between individuals, collectivities and the welfare state and how ethnicity and gender issues figure in these practical relationships in general and housing processes in particular. The main theoretical issues to be looked at are the social divisions of ethnicity and gender and related notions of 'power'/ 'empowerment', 'identity'/'difference', 'participation' and 'the community' socially and spatially both at macro and local levels. The methodological approach arising out of the aims of the research was an in-depth study of three different types of housing projects where the degree of tenant involvement in their housing processes varied considerably. Each of these three types of housing projects characterised a different way and degree of participation by tenants in decision-making. These were firstly, council managed estates in which all major and minor decisions are taken by the local authority; secondly, tenant management cooperatives in which tenants take over the responsibility of the day-to-day management of their estate while the ownership of the estate remains with the council and some major decisions are taken by the council; and thirdly, self-build projects which involve tenants in the actual building and management processes of their housing and in which tenant involvement is supposed to be at its highest level.