Managing The Housing Neighbourhood

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Renewal, Regeneration and Managing the Housing Neighbourhood

Renewal, Regeneration and Managing the Housing Neighbourhood


This paper is about low-income neighbourhoods, their organisation and management. It is not a study in deprivation, although all the areas we discuss are within the 10% most deprived areas in the country. It is about problemsolving, about the reforms in delivery underway in Britain, about long run attempts to tackle deprivation, about the central role of local government and housing organisations in changing conditions on the ground. It addresses environmental and social problems within neighbourhoods as part of a wider understanding of social exclusion, sustainable development and the need for greater care of our urban communities. Although its perspective is shaped by British examples, many of the issues are relevant to other countries. (Power, 1999, pp. 1-12)

Firstly, we set out the ideas behind neighbourhood management, why it is necessary and how it is organised. Clarity over the meaning of the term, neighbourhood management, is fundamental. Management involves the organisation, supervision and delivery of goods and services, the maintenance and enforcement of reasonable standards of repair, maintenance, supervision and provision of acceptable environmental conditions within agreed lines of control and accountability. Implicit within management responsibility lie the ability to make decisions and authority over identified and dedicated budgets to match the tasks necessary for making things work. Neighbourhoods require management just like any other structure, particularly if many residents rent their homes and ownership of property is held outside the neighbourhood - for example, by a local council. A manager is the person where 'the buck stops'. There is no one else to blame for failure within the agreed management remit. The performance of services outside the manager's direct control is one of the most problematic aspects of successful management. Therefore the co-operation and support of as many local services as possible is essential to success in neighbourhood management.

The art of management involves delivering all elements within the manager's control as well as negotiating and ensuring the successful delivery of elements outside the manager's direct control. A manager makes things happen and keeps things working. Lack of management causes a breakdown in control, delivery and enforcement of acceptable standards. The management of neighbourhoods shares these core management characteristics with other types of organisations - businesses, service bodies such as schools or hospitals, and specific programmes such as regeneration. (Clapp & Jennifer, 2001).

Approach to the study

This paper investigates and explains some of the forms of neighbourhood management that are being tried in England today. Scottish, Welsh and Irish experiments could be highly relevant but are not covered. We show what benefits neighbourhood management can bring, with what costs; and what structures are needed to deliver it. Working examples of neighbourhood management are often linked to local housing management in areas with significant social and private renting and we therefore include housing management in the discussion where relevant. Our study uncovered clear organisational characteristics, involving an agreed approach to a specific neighbourhood and its ...
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