This land is your land

Land surveyorsWe are used to thinking of NIMBYism as a parameter of the housing policy debate. The survey evidence suggests that anti-development sentiment is deep rooted and hard to shift. It is a constraint that we must work within – something to work around – rather than something to be challenged.

It is increasingly clear that NIMBYism is taken as a brute fact within the political sphere. Last month we heard that, despite apparent earlier enthusiasm, the Conservatives have gone cold on the idea of a new generation of new towns. Eric Pickles is reported to have poured cold water on the proposals because of the fears over the likely electoral cost to the Conservatives in constituencies in the rural South East. And today the Telegraph reports that Nick Boles has been told to mind his language over “aggressive planning talk”. His pro-development – and pro-developer – stance is upsetting the forces of conservatism. [Read more...]

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Nick Boles and the philosophy of the garden

To what sorts of things do people have moral rights? That’s a profound question worthy of more than a mere blog post.

We could turn to the thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for inspiration. We’ll see an aspirational list of rights which still, more than 60 years after its adoption, many countries fail to deliver in full. In that list at number three we have:

  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Now we know that “liberty” and its realisation is a complex concept. It can, though, incorporate access to adequate housing as a foundation for personal development and security.

But we needn’t try to use Article 3 to cover the issue. We’ve got further resources to draw on when thinking about housing. [Read more...]

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