Renting over troubled waters: an urban political ecology of rental housing

Article


Mee, Kathleen J., Instone, Lesley, Williams, Miriam, Palmer, Jane and Vaughan, Nicola. 2014. "Renting over troubled waters: an urban political ecology of rental housing." Geographical Research. 52 (4), pp. 365-376. https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-5871.12058
Article Title

Renting over troubled waters: an urban political
ecology of rental housing

ERA Journal ID2016
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsMee, Kathleen J. (Author), Instone, Lesley (Author), Williams, Miriam (Author), Palmer, Jane (Author) and Vaughan, Nicola (Author)
Journal TitleGeographical Research
Journal Citation52 (4), pp. 365-376
Number of Pages12
Year2014
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN1745-5863
1745-5871
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-5871.12058
Web Address (URL)http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1745-5871.12058/abstract
Abstract

Urban political ecology emphasises the hybrid nature of cities and the flows of people and materials that constitute the built environment. Climate change introduces a profound dimension of uncertainty in the socio-material relations of urban life, raising questions for urban residents of how to act, what sort of actions might make a ‘difference’ and ‘matter’. For renters this uncertainty is amplified by limited access to ‘resources for adaption’ such as gardens, water efficiency and alternative energy, and exacerbated by poor communication and unresponsiveness from landlords. The built environment, and housing in particular, is recognized as both a significant site of greenhouse gas emissions and a site where adaptation to climate change will need to occur. However, the capacity of urban residents to make changes to their housing is uneven. This paper draws on a case study of rental property managers and tenants in Newcastle, NSW to explore social and cultural processes that are both shaped by and shape rental housing provision. In this paper we explore the urban political ecologies of rental housing through the lens of water, revealing a suite of practices, materials and discourses that assemble to make resources for adaptation, and simultaneously render water as useful, troubled and troublesome. The socionatural relations of tenure are shaped by regulatory practices including leases, insurance and capital investment alongside human and non-human actors. In particular the paper draws attention to the different conditions of access to ‘resources for adaptation’ in the material relations of public and private rental housing provision.

Keywordsurban political ecology, rental housing, water, sustainability, climate change
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440699. Human geography not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Newcastle
University of Technology Sydney
Australian Capital Territory Government
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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