On-edge in the Impasse: Inhabiting the housing crisis as structure-of-feeling

Elena Harris, Melanie Nowicki, Katherine Brickell

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PLACE/Ladywell is a block of modular and mobile “pop-up” housing, currently occupying a council owned site awaiting redevelopment in Lewisham, South East London. It houses 24 families on the borough's homelessness register. The development has received multiple awards, been highly praised in the media, and cited by the Greater London Authority as prototypical of pop-up housing as a ‘solution' to London's housing crisis. Yet amidst the widespread excitement around PLACE/Ladywell, experiences of urban precarity persist for the families living there. In this paper we examine how resident experiences of being ‘on-edge' are defined both by personal crises as they await permanent rehousing, by job losses, evictions and school moves, as well as by anxieties relating to the housing crisis as a wider structure of feeling, including fear after the Grenfell Tower fire and anxieties about gentrification. In doing so, we offer a timely conceptualisation of how experiences of urban precarity persist and mutate in a political moment defined by a growing sense of urgency around finding solutions to the housing crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-164
Number of pages9
Early online date28 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

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