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Developing and sustaining mixed tenure housing developments

Evaluates the strategic and policy context for housing development and neighbourhood renewal, arguing that mixing tenure is important but other aspects of sustainable communities need equal weight.

Written by:
Nick Bailey and Tony Manzi
Date published:


This Round-up evaluates the strategic and policy context for housing development and neighbourhood renewal. The authors argue that integrating different housing tenures is an important prerequisite for developing ‘housing of choice’, but that there are many other aspects of sustainable communities which need to be given equal weight.

Key points

  • Existing research suggests that well managed, mixed tenure communities have the potential to facilitate social interaction between residents without imposing on residents’ privacy. They may help counteract social exclusion and adverse neighbourhood effects associated with mono-tenure estates.
  • According to the research, existing residents are not normally aware of tenure as an issue in selecting where they live and who their neighbours are.
  • The quality of design and master-planning of new developments has proven to be a major influence on social interaction.
  • There is no evidence that mixed tenure adversely affects house prices or the ability to let or sell property.
  • Mixed developments require careful management and monitoring – for example, systems need to be in place to maintain streets and public spaces.
  • Further research is required into:
    - whether the mix of housing creates more opportunities for social interaction between different sections of the community, compared with mono-tenure developments;
    - whether there are different patterns of social interaction between residents in different tenures and differential usage of local facilities;
    - whether mixed communities are more expensive to develop than single tenure developments, and how these costs fall on the public and private sectors;
    - if there are additional management costs, whether these are offset, for example, in the reduction of crime, improved educational attainment and lower levels of unemployment;
    - what factors residents take into account in deciding to transfer between houses and tenures in the same development as family size and household income changes; and
    - whether the proportion of housing in different tenures increases or decreases over time, and whether there is a tipping-point where the mix strategy is undermined.
Smiling woman drinking a cup of tea in a kitchen.

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