Postgraduate taught 

Urban Studies PgCert

Housing Contexts URBAN5086

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course describes and analyses the political, economic, and social development of UK housing systems and compares these (where appropriate) with other models of housing supply and management within broadly "welfare" state systems. There is then emphasis on the changes wrought by more recent market driven policies, the impacts and drivers of local level market change and how combinations of state policy and market drivers create and shape cities generally but housing supply and services specifically.


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 2,000 word assignments, each worth 50%. 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

This course will enable students to understand the social, political, and economic drivers that have, over time, created the current housing system in the UK with its constantly shifting tenure balance and changing emphasis on market or public provision of affordable housing. This will involve consideration of the key aims of housing policy in the UK, how policy has been delivered, and with what outcomes for individual households, and for the nation. This course will also give students a clear understanding of the financial regimes affecting different tenures and the way finance is used by government as a policy tool to direct services to the type of provision they deem appropriate. There will be international comparisons where appropriate. Building upon this knowledge, students will then analyse the more specific drivers that impact on local level housing markets including the creation of tenure preferences and incentives, varying levels of support, and how these policy led inputs can create outcomes that include both vibrant sustainable neighbourhoods or areas of decline and low demand. This course will allow students to understand the constraints and opportunities for local housing strategies that they work with and help to develop.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ understand the objectives, scope and implementation of housing policy in the UK, 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;

■ understand the role of the main providers of housing including different types of social landlords and the two main elements of private provision;

■ review the effectiveness of policies towards homeless households;

■ understand the social, political, and economic drivers that lead to long term tenure change in the UK;

■ describe the way the drivers shape housing policy development and delivery at national and local levels;

■ comprehend the underlying logic of both the financial system and housing finance circuits;

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

■ assess the key role played by public expenditure systems;

■ outline the fundamental models of social housing finance (LA and RSL);

■ assess the financing dimensions of stock transfer and associated alternate models of social housing provision;

■ evaluate the changing role of Housing Benefit;

■ assess the social changes that are linked to economic and financial constraints and how these impact on the scope of social housing services and the government's willingness to intervene in housing markets;

■ identify the indicators of changing demand in local housing markets and understand whether these changes are supporting or undermining sustainability objectives; and

■ 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