02 Mar 2018

Self-build book evidences community benefits of creating your own home

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Self-build book evidences community benefits of creating your own home

Self-build Homes: Social Discourse, Experiences and Directions is a collection of essays that gives an overview of how the social dimensions connected with the sector that will advance theory, research and practice.

Published by UCL Press, the book puts forward the theory that Self-build, and thereby Custom Build, creates homes that are more stylised, affordable and appropriate for the specific needs of households than much of the open market offerings.

For anyone operating in the sector, the book acts a reference, providing insights in to the motivating factors around Self-build, from the perspective of self-builders themselves, but also from the perspective of local residents, planners, policy managers and scholars. This information is useful if you’re looking to support an application for a development with researched evidence.

Essays in the book deal with the concepts of home, identity and social dimensions that Self-build embraces, and in particular the social equity it can provide in terms of community engagement. This embraces structures, policies and practices, as well as the lived experiences of households.

The essays chart the social acceptance of Self-build schemes within neighbourhoods, and the strong community bonds they create, especially in the case of collective or cohousing projects, which many placemakers advocate.

“Social values and investments are not a by-product of self-build, but an integral feature. Self-build then is about imagining (and hopefully realising) alternative ways of living – whether in community, sustainably, affordably – that have the potential to trouble understandings of how housing (and development) happens and the values it reproduces.” (p269)

It includes a piece by former NaCSBA chair Ted Stevens, Turning the theory into reality, as well as chapters by numerous industry commentators and practitioners working in the sector.

Edited by Michaela Benson and Iqbal Hamiduddin, the book is free to download or costs: Hardback £40.00, Paperback, £22.99 or as an ebook for £5.99 from UCL Press.

Editor’s comment

Research into the world of Self-build and Custom Build is to be welcomed – as the greater the evidence base for the benefits of the sector the more the sector will benefit. I recommend downloading this book and taking a look, it’s time well spent.

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