An analysis and reconsitution of self-building system in the U.K.

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Submission Summary
With the triumph of globalization and the expansion of financial capitalism over the past four decades, grass-roots city dwellers with long tenure are being displaced in an ongoing process of eviction and urban gentrification that is taking place in cities worldwide. The rights enjoyed by such city dwellers with respect to their own living environment are under great threat. This paper analyzes the self-building system that emerged after the UK's Housing Act of the mid-1980s, and its social connotations, process, contemporary practices and relevant productive relations, to propose the use of self-build systems as a mode of direct action, a deep and powerful way of restoring dweller control to the housing-provision system. In this context, housing is seen as a continuous activity rather than merely a physical product. Through their degree of participation or non-participation in this activity, the ability of residents to control their own destinies in the housing system can be assessed. The paper proposes to explode the top-down process of housing supply under the industrialized system, reconceptualizing it from a packaged service to a kit of separated parts, creating multiple possibilities for residents to take control. Meanwhile, by introducing and analyzing contemporary self-build platforms, the paper explores how this radical activism evolves with the spread of digital networks in the post-industrial age, proposes networked self-build systems as a form of bottom-up activism capable of reversing capitalist control to the city, opening possibilities to raise the public consciousness, form real collective power and protect the rights of the grassroots.
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2: Ensuring the Economic Diversity and Resilience
senior urban planner
Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute. CO.LTD
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