Subsistent Places; Productive Lives

This is the outline for an ongoing and long-term research project that I will be pursuing in the coming years. It is currently being prepared for UK research funding applications and pilot funding from my host university.

Premise

A critical analysis of the loss of informal space in the UK as a counter-narrative to the UK’s contemporary housing crisis.

Abstract:

This research project will pursue a critical enquiry into the relationships of informal space, land ownership, and housing practices against a framework of theoretical discourses concerning the political policy, ideology, and domination of the social production of space.

Using a GIS mapping methodology, the research will critically analyse a broad narrative of housing and land ownership in the UK, from the 18th and 19th Century Inclosures Acts, the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836, through the Allotments Acts of 1908 and 1922, and finally on to the Town and country Planning Act of 1947. This mapping process will analyse a specific range of case studies to produce a critical analysis of key informal spaces in the UK. The intersections of this mapping analysis against a framework of critical theory will be explored in order to highlight the social, cultural, economic, and spatial impacts of these successive acts on the UK’s collective social understanding of land ownership, home, and life.

This research process will conclude by posing critical challenges to the contemporary housing situation facing the UK and wider Westernised space: What are the social and political consequences of the loss of informal space and housing in the UK? What can we learn from the historical successes and failures of informal space in the UK? What political and planning policy changes are necessary to afford a change to this un-sustainable production of spaces and lives? How can we use the principles of informal space to create subsistent spaces to afford people to have productive lives?

Keywords:

Informal space, housing, plotlanders, allotments, anarchism, mapping

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