Liverpool 2015
Housing - A Critical Perspective

An Interdisciplinary Examination
Event Date: April 8-9, 2015
Abstract Date: December 12, 2014
Stephen Hodder MBE. President, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA); David Waterhouse. Head of Strategic Development, Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe) Ann O’Byrne. Deputy Mayor of Liverpool, Liverpool City Council


The provision of adequate housing is one of the most important political issues in the UK today. Against a background of disparate policy interventions, resistances, contradictions and conflict, the Housing – Interdisciplinary Futures Conference seeks to bring together architects, planners, sociologists, artists, economists, geographers, political activists, housing associations and policy makers. The aim is to debate this urgent issue and consider problems, options and potential solutions. Reflecting the belief that housing and its social implications are not discipline-specific concerns the conference invites cross-disciplinary, creative, and critical thinking from those engaging in research and activism from both inside and outside academia.

The context faced today in the UK can be presented as one of an ever dwindling supply of social or state funded housing, a reluctance from the private sector to meet the shortfall, and ever more pressures on Housing Associations to operate in the model of private landlords. Recent newspaper headlines have claimed that “housing squalor and exploitation are back”, and that government policies are forcing the most vulnerable “onto the streets”. Others have suggested that living conditions in some of the poorest areas of our cities result directly from government policies that amount to a “let-the-poor-be-poor crusade”.

On the reverse side it is arguable that government intervention has been the problem all along and that regulation prevents the private sector meeting the needs of the country. The 2010 UK government reforms of planning policy and the freeing of greenbelt land for residential development are the most obvious manifestations of this position. The shift in UK planning policy to an ‘assumption of favourability’ is another. In this case, responding to housing need is presented as a dual solution – meeting housing shortage and boosting a flagging economy.

Following the position of Bernard Rudofsky’s Architecture Without Architects however, others reject either the government or private sector dichotomy. Looking to local development projects led by local residents as the way forward, multiple activists and community groups are seeking a DIY approach. From this perspective, externally led projects will inevitably result in a dilution of the user’s voice and a blurring of their needs.


  • Housing
  • Governance
  • Community studies
  • Sociology
  • Design
  • Human geography
  • Art activism
  • Architecture
  • Planning
  • Urban design

Key Dates

Abstract Submissions
12 December 2014
Abstract Feedback
20 December 2014
Full Paper Submissions (where applicable)
20 March 2015
Registration Deadline
01 April 2015
08-09 April 2015
Feedback on Full Papers
01 May 2015
Publication of Full papers
01 July 2015


Critical Planning
How are elite, privatised residential developments reshaping urban space? What role is there for critical planning theory vis-à-vis housing?
Governance and Policy
What role will states have in the housing solutions of the future? How have recent policy interventions impacted on neighbourhoods?
Art and Design
In what ways have architects responded to affordable housing crises? What insights can politically-engaged art projects offer?
Society and Community
How has sociology made sense of local contexts and wider issues? How have local activists ensured their voice is heard in the context of change?


Delegates are given the option to present their work at conference either with or without an accompanying full written paper.

The conference welcomes case studies; design proposals, research projects, investigative papers and theoretical considerations around any of these or related issues. These can be presented in various formats:

Conference Presentations (20 minutes)
Written Papers (3,000 words)*
Alternative Proposals (Lightning talks; short film screenings; photographic essays etc.)
In-person and virtual presentations (Skype, etc.)


The publishers that AMPS works with include UCL Press, Routledge Taylor & Francis, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Vernon Press, Libri Publishing and Intellect Books.


Conference outputs include the AMPS Proceedings Series, ISSN 2398-9467; Special Issue Publications of the academic journal Architecture_MPS ISSN 2020-9006; Books with the publishing houses listed above and short films available on the AMPS Academic YouTube Channel.


Written papers are optional.  If submitted they should be 3,000 word length. Formatting instructions to follow after the conference. All papers are double- blind peer reviewed for the AMPS Conference Proceedings Series. Subject to review, selected authors will be invited to develop longer versions as articles in the academic journal Architecture_MPS or in specially produced conference books.


Image: Foundry Co.