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Housing Policy - SPY00001H

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Alison Wallace
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module summary

Housing is fundamental to wellbeing and security, and confers on residents a range of economic, social and cultural benefits. Despite its importance, it is widely agreed that the UK housing market is broken and consequently housing has risen the political and public agenda. But how can we make sense of the current housing crisis and what should be done? What is the role of the state and markets in providing safe, secure and affordable housing? How can we organise national housing policy in a country with such significant spatial wealth and economic inequalities?   Why are so many people homeless and what can policymakers do to address this? These are just some of the questions this module asks through an historical, social and policy exploration of housing in the UK. 

Professional requirements


Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2020-21

Module aims

  • To explore UK housing policy in-depth
  • To provide a basic tool-kit of knowledge about the housing system
  • To provide an understanding of the interaction between social policy, markets, and geography in the context of housing

Module learning outcomes

  • To develop specialist knowledge of the structure and functioning of the contemporary UK housing system
  • To critically engage with the historical, social and cultural foundations of UK housing policy
  • To consolidate knowledge of key contemporary issues in housing policy and how these relate to the wider social policy agenda in different spatial markets
  • To critique the various sources of evidence through which housing policy is contested and built

Module content

Indicative Module weekly summary (subject to scheduling amendment)


Crisis what crisis!? Understanding the UK housing system

 Lecture, Practical and seminar


Who do we need to house? And how?

Lecture, Practical and seminar


How do we make homes affordable?

Lecture, Practical and seminar


Why place matters

Lecture, Practical and seminar


Does it matter if people can’t afford to buy homes?

Lecture, Practical and seminar


Can private renting take the strain?

Lecture, Practical and seminar


Can social housing development achieve social policy goals?


Lecture and Field Trip


Why are people homeless and what can be done?

Lecture, Practical and seminar


How can we solve the housing crisis?

Mock Select Committee

Practical with all staff and students



Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3500 Words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Formative work takes place through the practical and seminar preparation work and discussion in seminars. Formative feedback by staff is provided on essay plans.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3500 Words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Formative written feedback will be provided to students on an essay plan submitted in week 7. Summative written feedback will be provided to students within the period for return of feedback detailed in departmental policy. Written feedback will be provided using the standard departmental undergraduate marking matrix.

Indicative reading

Davis, C. (2013) Finance for housing: an introduction. Bristol, Policy Press.

Lund, B. (2011) Understanding Housing Policy. Bristol, Policy Press.

Lowe, S. (2011) The Housing Debate, Bristol, The Policy Press.

Cowan, D. (2011) Housing Law and Policy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Bowie, D. (2017) Radical solutions to the housing supply crisis. Bristol, Policy Press.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.