Regeneration and the benefits of new build housing

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Since council housing stock transfer in Glasgow in 2003, there has been an extensive programme of housing-led regeneration across the city. This has involved the improvement of over 50,000 dwellings and the construction of around 15,000 new dwellings, partly to replace the many high-rise units demolished over the period. To build a new house costs up to four times as much as to improve an existing dwelling, so it is important to know if new dwellings bring additional benefits to occupants.

New build houses in theory provide a better opportunity to achieve higher standards, for example in relation to energy efficiency and accessibility, due to advances in technology and design over the decades since much of the city’s post-war social housing was first built.

As part of our investigation of the health and wellbeing impacts of regeneration, it is important therefore that GoWell investigates the issue of whether or not new build dwellings have advantages for occupants over and above improved houses, and contribute to the aims of regeneration. We do this in our new briefing paper: The benefits of new build housing provided through regeneration in Glasgow.

The paper uses the fourth wave of the GoWell community survey carried out in summer 2015 to compare the responses to the survey given by occupants of new build social housing (built since 2003) with those given by occupants of improved social sector dwellings. After looking at the employment status of the two groups, to see if there are any differences in who gets access to new build housing, the paper compares the responses given by the two resident groups in relation to a series of topics including: dwelling satisfaction and condition; feelings of status, control and safety at home; the affordability of housing and related utility costs; neighbourhood satisfaction and condition; neighbourhood services and amenities; community belonging and social contacts; and health behaviours.

In each case, we test for statistically significant differences in responses, after controlling for the occupants’ age and gender, and the location of the dwelling across the GoWell study areas (in case any dwelling differences reflect differences between the types of areas we are studying).

The analysis presented in the paper shows that new build housing provides additional housing and environmental quality gains to occupants (as reported by the residents themselves), over and above those enjoyed by the occupants of improved housing, and that these advantages might also be reflected in other benefits associated with new build housing in respect of affordability, status and home-based health behaviours.

In social terms, the paper finds some community-related benefits for new build occupants in respect of trust and reliance on neighbours, but not in not in terms of reported social interaction or mixing.

Access the briefing paper.