Self-building

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The production and consumption of new homes from the perspective of households

Funded by the ESRC Future Research Leaders Scheme (2012-2015, ES/K001078/1)

Principal Investigator: Michaela Benson

About the project

This project is a multi-scale ethnographic study of self-building as a form of housing provision in the UK. Starting in 2012, it has traced the relationship between the wider housing and land markets and self-build against the background of a recognized crisis of both quantity and quality of new housing provision. The ethnographic and longitudinal focus of the project is capturing the process through which a new submarket – custom build housing – to complement existing housing provision has been created. In parallel, the project focuses on the experiences of household and group self-build projects, in this way mapping the diversity of self-building households, their motivations, and their experiences.

By including participatory video methods within the ethnographic research, the project also captures how household characteristics and relationships influence, and are influenced by, the material production of a new home; the role of social support systems and household investments in the process of self-building; and the consequences of self-building for the identity of households and for their sense of belonging.

More broadly the project seeks to contribute to a wider discussion about alternative housing and the housing crisis and has featured on the LSE Politics and Policy Blog.

Self-build schemes can be empowering in so many ways: Are self-builds the solution to the London's housing crisis?

Contact and more info about the project

To find out more about the research, please contact Michaela Benson 

I also tweet about the research from @michaelacbenson using #selfbuildresearchproject and maintain a project blog on the progress of the project.