Publication Details

Heffernan, E. & de Wilde, P. (2017). Something wonderful in my back yard: the social impetus for group self- building. In M. Benson & I. Hamiduddin (Eds.), Self-Build Homes: Social Discourse, Experiences and Directions (pp. 174-191). London, United Kingdom: UCL Press.


The housing crisis in the United Kingdom, as Barker (2004) identifies, has become shorthand for a chronic lack of suitable and affordable housing - in both the home ownership and rental sectors - and the undersupply and diminishment of social housing stock (Barker, 2004; Jefferys et al., 2014). What has also become clear is that the mainstream housebuilding sector - speculative housing development - has not risen to the task of ameliorating this crisis. Consequently, there is increasing marginalisation within the housing and land economy, with many people finding that their housing needs cannot be met by the sector. This chapter focuses on the experiences and perceptions of those who have been involved in group self- build projects, where households are involved in the design and/ or production of homes, either by arranging for their construction or building homes themselves within a group of three or more households (see also Duncan and Rowe, 1993). Against the background of the UK's housing crisis, this focus is particularly timely, as such group self- build projects are widely promoted as offering a route into housing that runs counter to these conditions.