This compact and simply presented book greatly impressed the jury, both because of its important subject matter and because of the commitment made by the authors and publishers to its widest availability.
It is available both as a slim paperback book and more especially it is also available as a free download from the publishers, UCL Press. The book is essentially an examination and exploration of the means by which public housing tenants can protect their homes from needless demolition or redevelopment. The book is divided into three parts. The first part focusses on London case studies, the second part on the administrative and legal mechanisms, the so called, 'Tools for community-Led Regeneration', that tenants can use in their task of safeguarding their homes. The final part, 'Next Challenges for Community-led Regeneration', looks at the issues of fuel poverty, the means of funding tenant/community action and the availability of information. It ends with some conclusions.
The main authors Pablo Sendra and Daniel Fitzpatrick are both academics at the Bartlett School of Planning at UCL. Fitzpatrick has worked extensively overseas and was founding partner of the practice, Variant. Sendra was co-founder of the urban design practice, Lugadero.
These main authors are supported by contributions from Michael Edwards and Richard Lee. Both are involved with the London-wide network of community and voluntary groups known as Just Space. An important contribution to the second part is made by the barrister Sarah Sackman who examines the legal, tools, available for those challenging redevelopment proposals. In particular it examines the use of the judicial review process.
The book is clearly on the side of the tenant and makes no pretense of being an objective study of the merits of refurbishment.
In detail Part 1 looks at seven case studies involving social housing estates within Greater London. This geographical could be seen as a disadvantage, but the diverse character of the estates and the different approaches needed means that lessons can be learned for application throughout the UK.
Community involvement and social housing legislation is a complex issue and some members of the jury felt that a stronger editorial hand was needed if this book was to be used to its full potential by a non-professional and often poorly informed section of our community.
The jury concluded that the importance of the topic covered and the special provision for free access to the book meant that it wished to Highly Commend the book.
Book Award Judging Panel 2021
Dick Cole (Chair) Book editor URBAN DESIGN journal