The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Housing Stories

Our 'Housing Stories' series is a mini series of blogs revealing the complex ways in which shelter provision interweave over time, and impact on multiple aspects of people’s lives.

What can we learn about the design and impact of housing policy and practice approaches from the stories of those inhabiting them?

At a time when housing policy too often takes the form of storytelling from above, the rendering of such stories from below provides a crucial reminder of the human consequences of bureaucratic and political decision-making in the terrain of housing. Therefore, we task our students on the Building and Urban Design in Development MSc to develop housing stories of an individual or the housing stories of a particular house. This is an assessed component from our module 'Housing Policies: Practical Dimensions and Alternative Options'.

With a focus on identifying those personal and political factors which conspire to open or close opportunities for individuals to attain housing security for themselves and their families, these stories shine new light on the gaps that can emerge between policy rhetoric and housing realities. In that sense, they provide a novel means to both evaluate the efficacy and reach of existing housing policies as well as to identify critical points for future intervention.

Curated by module tutors Tim Wickson and Ruth McLeod, this mini-series presents stories from Nigeria, Peru, Israel, India, Lebanon, Japan and Argentina, all of which are shared here with the kind permission of both the author and their key protagonists.

Housing Stories from 2022-23 students

The Housing Dilemma of Two Generations in Jakarta: Rasini’s Family Case
By Maya Siregar

This housing story delves into the experiences of Rasini and her parents to examine the dynamic of Jakarta’s housing market over a 40-years span.

“How could (this policy) have been improved? With what I have always said, information” (Leslie Dayanna Rojas Romero, 2023)
By Bárbara Bonelli

Here, Bárbara shares Leslie, Sonia, Angela and Mirta's fight for their homes as necessary to achieve social justice.

Making Home Away from Home: Life in the Private Rental Sector as an Eastern European Migrant
By Sylwia Satora 

Sylwia explores UK immigration from Eastern Europe.

Old Anarkali Housing Story
By Asim Noon

This housing story follows the urban transformation of a once-thriving node based in the Old Anarkali neighbourhood of Lahore, Pakistan.

A window into Mauritian Housing Policies
By Shaz Elahee

This housing story follows Shaz's Mum’s journey and provides valuable insight into the history of housing policies in Mauritius and how they have evolved. 

Housing Stories from 2021-22 students

‘Deserving the city’: Sara’s housing story
By Catalina Marino

Catalina rediscovers Buenos Aires’ housing policy through Sara's housing story.

From a foundry-laborer in Moradabad to a foundry-owner in Mumbai: The housing journey of Ahmed and his family
By Rohit Lahoti 

This is the housing story of Ahmed and his family which parallels housing policy shifts in India.

The Israeli Shikun Story
By Matan Flum The Israeli Shikun Story

This housing story serves as genealogical research whereby Matan writes about the life journey of his grandmother and its socio-political meaning throughout 1928-2021.

My Grandmother’s Housing Journey: A Tale of Orchards, War, Loss and Generosity
By Louai Kaakani 

By sharing his grandmother’s housing story, Louai questions ‘Where is the State?’ and critically examines the value of public intervention in her life. 

A Roof of Her (their) Own: Self-Constructing a Home in Lima
By Rosa Paredes Castro

Maria’s story highlights the trajectory of a woman who seek to overcome the barriers of the unequal land distribution of housing and how migrants created self-organised create space for their families.

Social Networks and Street Changes: A Lagosian Housing Story
By Yimika Koya

This housing story follows the journey of Yimika's parents and the alignment in their visions and strategies for housing.

A home for Seiichi’s family: Ninety-two-years of Japanese Housing History
By Yuka Aota

This housing story explores the housing history of Yuka's grandfather and how housing policies and land-use in Japan have confronted changing socio-economic and political situations.