Dissertation Introduction: Social Issues on the Demand of the Residence for Social Housing at Highgate Ward, North London
Housing has long dominated domestic politics in every part of the world. It is not only a fundamental human need, but also visibly reflects social progress and individual status within the society. It is strongly linked with urban tensions and disorder, and because it is so central to the life and well-being of any community, governments tend to intervene when for any reason housing systems break down (Harloe, 1995). The role of governments in helping to provide housing, particularly for poorer and more vulnerable groups, is the main theme of the study. Political tensions over the extent, style, organisation and funding of social housing are intense in all countries. National governments strongly defend their internal responsibility for housing, while the European Commission edges around housing problems per se, by stressing the social problems associated with it—segregation, race, migration, and poverty. The overlap between the two areas—housing and socio-economic problems—is almost total. This draws the European Community ever closer to housing issues, in spite of the principle of ‘subsidiarity’ which makes housing the responsibility of individual members rather than the EC as a whole (EC 1991a). Social housing can be defined as housing that is not provided for profit and is often let at below market rents; it is allocated to lower-income groups or to those whose incomes would not allow them to buy a home independently; the way it is produced—in quantity and quality—is laid down and regulated by the state (Ball et al 1988). The social landlords themselves are also regulated in the way they provide housing. Social landlords can include local authorities, housing associations, co-operatives, limited dividend companies and private landlords Primarily, the goal of this paper is to conduct an assessment about one of the communities in Candem Borough Council in UK in relation to social housing issues. The community that will be given emphasis in this report is the Highgate Ward. Herein, the paper will attempt to highlight the demand of the residence for social housing. Community Core Data Highgate ward is a community locates in North London. It is known for its Georgian Architecture. Highgate ward is also known as the more expensive suburbs to live in and considered to have an active conservation society which is The Highgate Society. Such conservation society is established to protect the character of the village. Highgate Ward lies on the north-eastern corner of Hampstead and Heath, one of the larges open spaces within London. Demographic Profile The recorded population of Highgate in the 2001 Census was 10,492 which are composed of 45% male and 55% female. The overall population of Camden in which Highgate belongs was 198, 020 with 48% male and 52% female. Table 1 Resident Population (percentage) Age Range Highgate Camden England and Wales Under 16 18.7 16.6 20.2 16 to 19 4.3 4.7 4.9 20 to 29 15.2 22.6 12.6 30 to 59 44.5 41.8 41.5 60 to 74 11.2 9.1 13.3 75 and over 6.1 5.0 7.6 Average age 37.4 35.3 38.6 Source: 2001 Census - Office of National Statistics Table 1 shows that the age of most of the residents of Highgate ranges from 30 to 59 years having 44.5% of the total population while there are only 4.3% residents who are 16 to 19 years. Compared to the overall population of Candem the percentage of each of the age range of Highgate can be considered to be close in value. The percentage of the residents of Highgate under the age of 16 is 18.7% which is quite close to the percentage of Camden. These demographics go to show that most of the residents within Highgate and Camden are 30-59 years of age and the smallest population is for 16-19 years of age. Marital Status The following table shows that martial status of the residents’ population of Highgate as compared with Camden and England and Wales. Table 2 shows that most of the residents of Highgate are single and never married having 48.7% of the total population which can also be recognized in the demographic breakdown of Camden in terms of marital status. As compared with England and Wales, the unmarried population in Highgate is larger than that of the England and Wales. As compared with the population of Camden with the category of married of re-married, the two have close value compared to England and Wales which shows that the married or re-married population comprises that larger population in this community. It can be concluded that in terms of marital status, both Highgate and Camden encompasses closes value. Housing and Households In the community of Highgate the total measure of households as recorded in the 2001 census is 4,844. Herein, 99% of the resident population are living in households. And the other remaining population are living in communal establishments. All in all the total number of households in Camden as of 2001 was 91, 603. The following table shows that number of households within Highgate, compared to the number of households in Camden and England and Wales. As can be seen in the table, most of the residents are occupying owned household which is 45.3% of the total population. On the other hand, social housing and rented houses comprises 8.5% of the population and 30.9% of the population are renting from the council. This means that most of the residents are able to have their own household. Compared to the household demographics of Camden, the breakdown of the percentage of Highgate is quite close to the percentage breakdown of Camden as per category. On the other hand, compared to the household demographics of England and Wales the breakdown of the percentage of Highgate has significant difference from that of the England and Wales percentage breakdown as per category. This means, that there is a significant discrepancy of the condition of Highgate in terms of household and housing with England and Wales. Social Composition The society or social composition of Highgate can be considered as diverse. In the following table, it shows that there are many different races that live in the village. The larger population are white races which comprises 83.8% of the total population of Highgate. 4.2% are residents which have mixed races, 3.6% with Asian or Asian British ethnic group and the rest composed of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladesh, Black or Black British, Caribbean, African, Chinese and other Asian races or other ethnic groups. The diversity of the population can also be seen in Camden and England and Wales. But it shows that white races are the dominant group in those three regions. Socio-Economic Status The socio-economic condition of a certain community can be considered as one of the most important factor to determine the stability of such community. Being a part of Camden borough Highgate can also be regarded as a community with stable economy. One of the important elements to know whether a certain region has a stable economy is through the employment record. The following table shows that employment measure of Highgate Ward as of 2001. The table shows that 61.8% of the total population of Highgate is employed while there is only 4.9% who are unemployed. Highgate has been able to provide employment to its residents. Within Highgate Ward, 17% of those unemployed were aged 50 and over, 11% had never worked and 29 per cent were long term unemployed. The major reasons for unemployment includes disability, or sickness, some residents are already retire, while some are looking for home/family. As compared with Camden and England and Wales, the three regions are noticed to have a close percentage for employment. This means, that each region has a productive residents which helps the regions to become more stable in terms of socio-economic status. In the 2005 study conducted by Data Management and Analysis Group, they have recorded that the Average income of Highgate is £34,437. Having a rank 438, it means that the ward has an average household income compared to other wards within Camden borough. The percentage of Highgate households with income below 10K, 20K and 30K are 9.6%, 26.4% and 44.6% respectively and the percentage of households within Highgate with income above 50k and 100K are 28.0% and 4.4% respectively. This only shows that Highgate has a stable household income. Impact of the above factors in the demand of Housing in Highgate Housing market is known to be the relations between supply matrix of housing units described by characteristics and locations and a demand matrix of households determined by their characteristics and constraints. In theory, the market allocates housing units because of the prices of such units and as well as the number of households that are willing to pay for such housing units. In this manner, the allocation processes are formulated to the phase of the market clearing solution, in which all households get the housing units they prefer and can afford. Primarily, households must select between a certain degree of housing and all other goods to reach a combination that is satisfactory to each of the household member. Each of the members’ combined expenditure on housing and other goods is also subject to income constraints. In housing selection, the member must decide between suitable location and a certain level of quality with regards to housing. Generally, housing demand is defined as public investment in a city, region or country and the total of the household’s housing expenditure. Hence, the level of housing demand depends on other variables such as demographic structure like household size and age of household head and population growth. Housing demand can also be attributed to the level of employment measure of a certain region. Estimation of the demand for housing is largely based on population projection and structure of households. The growing population of Highgate Ward caused a high housing demand within the community. Since more and more people are seeking for a place to dwell, the characteristics of the village attracts many individual to demand housing in this area. The population of Highgate Ward rose from 10,492 to approximately 13, 000 in year 2005. Herein, the number of those reaching the age of twenty, and thus approach or entering the household-forming age group was particularly high. Declining family sizes, a fall in the proportion of the population getting married and an increasing rate of divorce have made for a growing number of single-person and one-parent households. Such changes within the village of Highgate can be considered as one of the key aspects why there is an increasing demand for housing. The demand for housing has also reflected the changing structure of the Highgate economy as well as the economy of Camden. With a good rate of employment record from 2001 up to the present, the village has produced a qualified number of individuals who can avail housing units. The growth of employment along Highgate ward can be attributed to the increasing demands for housing within the village. There are different challenges from one region to another and there is no single problem to be addressed. Growth brings with it housing demand pressure and this pressure has been recognizable within Highgate ward. The diverse population can also be regarded as an essential factor that affects the demand for housing within Highgate. As mentioned, the population of this ward includes different racial and ethnic group. Such differences make other residents to choose housing units which suits their racial identity. In this manner, since most of the residence of Highgate is white, there is a tendency that the housing units preferred by white are much demanded within the village. ] It can also be said that there is a pressure for housing demand in Highgate because of the household income of the residents within the village. As mentioned above, Highgate has an average household income compared to some other villages or ward in Camden, with this, the residents are able to select housing units and this may affect housing demands of Highgate. Conclusion Analysis shows that the demographic profile, employment record, racial differences, household income are some of the variables that affect the demand for housing within a certain region, city or country. In addition, economic status of a certain location can also be attributed as a factor for having increasing demand for social housing.