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Divided City? The value of mixed communities in expensive neighbourhoods
Katie Bates, Laura Lane, Anne Power and Nicola Serle
July 2013
Paper No' CASEreport 077:
Full Paper (pdf) | Executive Summary (pdf)

Tags: social housing; octavia housing; social mix; social landlords; mixed neighbourhoods

Headlines: [1] Octavia Housing, a long-established social landlord in Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster, provides low cost rented homes to low-income local residents in high-cost areas. In doing so it helps to overcome deep social divisions. [2] Octavia's rents are far lower than local private rents and offer tenants security and a sense of belonging. Octavia tenants pay around £120 a week, significantly lower than private rents in our case study areas. Tenants generally are happy with their neighbourhoods and they like living where they do. [3] Most Octavia tenants have lived in these areas for a long time - some all their lives - and long before they became so expensive. They feel part of the area where they live. [4] Low-income tenants identify many benefits from living in mixed neighbourhoods alongside people on much higher incomes. Schools, parks and amenities earn praise.

[5] Almost all tenants believe that social housing in expensive areas is vital to retaining a social mix and building an inclusive society. They think their children benefit from attending schools in these areas and aspire higher as a result. Tenants worry that moving to other cheaper areas would damage their work chances and their children's education. They would lose local support. They think poorer areas have more social problems. [6] Tenants are worried about their future, which they feel is threatened by gentrification and wider economic conditions. They also worry that public spending cuts and loss of services and support is making their lives more precarious. Tenants' biggest fear is that little will be left for their children and grandchildren in the way of jobs and housing.