Housing Contexts URBAN5086

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course describes and analyses the political, economic, and social drivers of UK and Scottish housing systems and housing policy and compares these with other models of housing supply and management within broadly "welfare state" systems. There is a particular emphasis on promoting an understanding of housing finance and housing subsidies and how they affect housing outcomes, and on key policy areas such as homelessness and affordable housing.


Usually taught in Year 1 (Part-time housing students) Semester 1 in 9 three-hour sessions.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements:


Excluded Courses






The course will be assessed by two 2,500 word assignments, each worth 50% of credits. One will focus on housing policy, the other on housing finance. Students will be required to investigate policy and finance problems rather than compile a traditional essay. There is no examination.

Course Aims

1. This course aims to enable participants to understand the social, political, and economic drivers that have, over time, created the current housing system in the UK, with its shifting tenure balance and changing emphases on market or public provision of housing.

2. The course aims to promote a comprehension of the key aims of housing policy in the UK and how policy has been and is delivered, and with what outcomes for individual households, and for the nation.

3. Housing Contexts will also give students a clear understanding of the financial regimes affecting different tenures and the ways in which finance is used by government as a policy tool to shape housing provision and housing consumption.

4. The course will also give an understanding of the differences in housing outcomes between different parts of the UK and between the UK and other developed countries, and the principal explanations for the similarities and differences.  


Within the Housing Studies programme, the overall purpose of Housing Contexts is to provide essential background to other programme elements that focus on professional practice in housing, including housing law, housing finance, the delivery of housing services and housing development.


Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ understand the social, political, and economic drivers of long term housing change in the UK and the way these drivers shape housing policy development and delivery at national and local levels;

■ understand the objectives, scope and implementation of housing policy in the UK and in Scotland, including comparisons between different parts of the UK;

■ describe and evaluate the key means whereby policy has sought to provide for housing needs and demands, including the main institutions and instruments of government, and types of policy intervention;

■ comprehend the basis of the housing finance system, including social housing finance and the housing elements of universal credit, and assess the key role played by public expenditure systems in shaping housing outcomes

■ outline the core arguments relating to the economics of subsidy and the pricing of housing;

■ understand the role of the main providers of housing including different types of social landlords, and private provision through owner occupation and private renting.

■ review the effectiveness of policies towards homeless households;

■ evaluate the relationship between housing supply and land use planning

■ assess current changes in society, demography, economics and culture and how they may affect future housing needs and demands

■ apply skills in processing information, verbal communication within a group setting, and written communication.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.


All taught HSP courses require attendance.