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"London housing: is creating 'mixed communities' such a great idea?"

Link to The Guardian

"Everyone wants 'mixed communities'. The breadth and depth of the consensus in London (and elsewhere) is amazing. Labour councils want them, Conservative councils want them. Shelter supports them. Boris Johnson has pledged to "work to deliver them," and his new London Plan and revised housing strategy both refer to promoting them. The desirability of using planning and housing policy to bring about "mixed and balanced" neighbourhoods is rarely disputed. But why, exactly, does everybody think they're such a good idea? And are they right?

"The core conviction is that living in a 'mixed community' is better for poor and disadvantaged people than living in a poor and disadvantaged one, and that tailoring policy accordingly interrupts patterns of social segregation. This belief informs the prioritising of ex-service personnel and people who have jobs for social housing allocation, the logic being that doing so dilutes prevailing cultures of dependency and antisocial conduct. 

"It also provides a moral rationale for regeneration schemes that entail rebuilding social housing-dominated estates to introduce other tenure types that better-off people can afford or just knocking them down and starting again. The same thinking underpins the view that new housing developments should have a diversity of market and "affordable" homes within them.

"Yet evidence vindicating this confluence of urban social and planning policy is neither straightforward nor overwhelming."

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