Prompted by an email from a student, I thought it might be a good idea to list here the (limited) academic publications on self build! Relative to other forms of housebuilding, this is a topic that has not attracted a lot of academic interest, although it is important to bear in mind that there is research out there on self build, but this might be masquerading under a variety of different names–self-help housing, self-provided housing, self-commissioned housing, self-provision–and that is not even including group housing projects–cohousing, mutuals, low impact living, community-led housing–that might include an element of what I refer to here, and in my project more generally, as self build. Despite the significant problems of conceptual clarity that I identified in my interim report, there is, nevertheless, some important research out there on self build that is valuable for anyone interested in this topic to consult.
When I first started looking at the topic, I overlooked the substantial body of work on self-build housing in the developing world, believing that the conditions would be so different that the comparison and contrast to the British case would not be particularly helpful. However, the more apparent housing inequality becomes in Britain as highlighted so well by Danny Dorling (you can listen to him talking about it here), I have started to wonder whether it is time to turn back towards this literature? Given that there are so few examples of how this has been successful in Britain, these might be give a sense of how some forms of self-build, particularly those that are government or charity aided, might form part of the solution to the housing disaster that we find ourselves in.
The list of publications below represent what has been written on self build in Britain. It is highly possible that there are publications missing from this list, so if you know of anything to add in, please list it in the comments box at the bottom of the page. In most cases, these are behind paywalls, but where they are not, I have included a hyperlink that will take you through to a copy of the publication.
Barlow, J., Jackson, R., and Meikle, J. (2001) Homes to DIY for: The UK’s self-build housing market in the twenty-first century. York: York Publishing Services.
Barlow, J., Jackson, R., and Meikle, J. (2001) The Current State of the Self Build Housing Market. York, UK: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Barlow, J. and Ozaki, R. (2003) ‘Achieving ‘customer focus’ in private housebuilding: current practice and lessons from other industries’, Housing Studies 18(1): 87-101.
Bredenord, J. and van Lindert, P. (2010) ‘Pro-poor housing policies: rethinking the potential of assisted self-help housing’. Habitat International 34(3): 278-287.
Brown, R. (2004) Making home: a study of recent self-build projects in the UK, DeMontford University: Unpublished PhD thesis.
Brown, R. (2007) ‘Identity and Narrativity in Homes Made by Amateurs’, Home Cultures 4(3): 261-285.
Brown, R. (2008) ‘Designing differently: the self-build home’, Journal of Design History 21(4): 359-370.
Clapham, D., Kintrea, K. and McAdam, G. (1993) ‘Individual self-provision and the Scottish housing system’, Urban Studies 30(8): 1355-1369.
Duncan, S. and Rowe, A. (1993) ‘Self-provided housing: the first world’s hidden housing arm’, Urban Studies 30(8): 1331-1354.
Edge, M. and Duncan, P. (2001) ‘Planning for local economy and individual empowerment: self-build housing and the ‘new vernacular’, in Edge, M. (ed.) Old World – new ideas: environment and change and tradition in a shrinking world. Conference proceedings, p. 53-59.
Hall, P. (1989) ‘Arcadia for some: the strange story of autonomous housing’, Housing Studies 4(3): 149-154.
Hardy, D. and Ward, C. (1984) Arcadia for all: the legacy of a makeshift landscape. London: Mansell.
Harris, R. (1991) ‘Self-building in the urban housing market’, Economic Geography 67(1): 1-21.
Harris, R. (1999a) ‘Aided self-help housing, a case of amnesa: editor’s introduction’, Housing Studies 14(3): 277-280.
Harris, R. (1999b) ‘Slipping through the cracks: the origins of aided self-help housing 1918-1953’, Housing Studies 14(3): 281-309.
Samuels, F. (2008) ‘Suburban self-build’, Field 2(1): 111-124.
Wallace A et al (2013) Build it yourself: Understanding the self build market. York, UK: University of York.
Walliman, N. (1993) A study of recent initiatives in group self-build housing in Britain. Oxford Brookes: Unpublished PhD Thesis.