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last updated: October 5, 2005


The City of Birmingham is the second city of the United Kingdom, after London, and is the largest local authority with the largest population (just under 1 million). It has some 300 high-rise blocks, all built by the local authority in the 1960s and there are major questions about the future of these blocks and the estates that they form part of. The demolition of substantial numbers of properties on these estates, is likely in future years, as part of major renewal and regeneration schemes.

High-rise and medium rise housing in Birmingham is largely confined to the large post war estates built by the local authority although some of this housing has been sold to individual home owners and some has been transferred to registered social landlords (not for profit housing associations). These dwellings were built in the period of major high-rise development in Britain between the 1950s and 1970s. In Birmingham such properties are found in inner-city slum clearance estates as well as peripheral estates which were greenfield developments at the time. High and medium-rise residential properties are not all unpopular but there is a general tendency for them to be less popular than other types of property and to form part of less popular estates.

The backlog of disrepair associated with large post war estates is substantial and the costs of bringing high rise and other properties up to an adequate standard is now very high. They tend to have a concentration of deprived households living in them and they are the active subject of policy debate and innovation. The proposals for these estates relate to changing dwelling and tenure mix and strategies to increase the employment and incomes of residents. For this study we would select two estates.