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Title: Improvement policy and access to housing : A study of the part played by Housing Action Areas
Author: Higgins, E. C.
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 1984
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This study evaluates the distributional effects of an improvement policy introduced in the 1974 Housing Act. It examines the role of Housing Action Areas, as an area-based policy for positive discrimination, in altering access to housing for people 1n 'greatest need'. The reasons for the existence of housing need 1n the inner city are elucidated in a discussion of changing urban housing markets. Research problems are identified following a review of the background to HAA policy and prev10us research on area-based intervention. Three key processes which have a bearing on distributional effects are identified: HAA declaration; implementation of improvement powers; and changes in housing function. The impact of declaration on individual households is examined, at a series of spatial scales. It is revealed that few of those in need have been affected. Cluster analyses are used to identify areas comprising concentrations of need for which HAA treatment is suitable. It is found that declaration falls far short of the spatially-defined potential for it. Thus, failure to reach target households cannot be entirely attributed to use of an area-based approach. Analyses of impact demonstrate that HAA declarations have not unequivocally been concentrated in the most needy areas. An examination of implementation of improvement powers suggests that relatively few households have been affected, though acquisition by councils and housing associations has been significant. Implementation is least efficacious in large HAAs, those in London, and those where housing need 1S relatively greatest. A micro-level study of council acquisition 1n HAAs in Islington, reveals that in the short term, substantial gains have been made by individual households in need. However, in the longer term, intervention reduces the opportunities for those most in need. It is concluded that the distributional effects of HAAs have been both limited and regressive, but the apparent outcome depends on the scale of analysis, and varies geographically. Paradoxically, relatively least has been achieved in London, to which the legislation was primarily orientated. This can be attributed to the structural and institutional framework in which HAAs have been conceived and implemented.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Urban planning & rural planning Regional planning Housing