Social Housing is going to end any day now because cash-strapped councils are demolishing large estates and London is being overrun by the private property market. But is it really the end of an era or a chance for us to rethink what housing is really for?
Lambeth has a very long and proud history of housing co-ops, and this community event held in November 2018 held at Brixton Library used our felted community map to tell the story of the origins of Brixton Housing Cooperative and explore the contribution housing co-ops have made to social housing in the London Borough of Lambeth.
Community housing shaped by the Brixton Riots
Like many housing co-operatives in London Brixton Housing Co-operative was formed in the late 1970s at a time when many London councils had a large amount of housing stock that had fallen into disrepair. Today the private property market has transformed the landscape of London. For our engagement event we asked people to help us finish our felted map of Brixton and screened a short film contrasting TV footage from Railton Road shot in the aftermath of the Brixton Riots in 1982 with the heavily gentrified street it is today. We also invited people to play our very own ‘gentrification game’ designed to help community-led housing groups develop their own Gentrification Policy. Alongside these activities we exhibited our map of housing co-operatives in London and asked people to document their hopes and visions for the future of social housing.
Why use felting maps?
To prioritise the lives of the community and residents produced via an activity where people come together and are creative.
Why a film of Railton Road Then and Now?
This worked well on a loop both as a background to the event but lots of people sat down to watch the film as it prompted stories and memories.