An important feature of UK housing policy has been the promotion of consortia between local authorities, private developers and housing associations in order to develop mixed tenure estates to meet a wide range of housing needs. Central to this approach has been a focus on the management of neighbourhoods, based on the assumption that high densities and the inter-mixing of tenure exacerbates the potential for incivility and anti-social behaviour and exerts a disproportionate impact on residents' quality of life. Landlord strategies are therefore based on a need to address such issues at an early stage in the development. In some cases community-based, third sector organisations are established in order to manage community assets and to provide a community development service to residents. In others, a common response is to appoint caretakers and wardens to tackle social and environmental problems before they escalate and undermine residents’ quality of life. A number of innovative developments have promoted such neighbourhood governance approaches to housing practice by applying community development methods to address potential management problems. In the process, there is an increasing trend towards strategies that shape behaviour, govern ethical conduct, promote aesthetic standards and determine resident and landlord expectations. These processes can be related to the wider concept of governmentality whereby residents are encouraged to become actively engaged in managing their own environments, based on the assumption that this produces more cohesive, integrated communities and projects positive images. Evidence is emerging from a number of countries that increasingly integrated and mutually supportive roles and relationships between public, private and third sector agencies are transforming neighbourhood governance in similar ways.
This paper will review the evidence for this trend towards community governance in mixed housing developments by drawing on a series of UK case studies prepared for two national agencies in 2007. It will review in particular the contractual arrangements with different tenures, identify codes and guidelines promoting 'good neighbour' behaviour and discuss the role of community development trusts and other neighbourhood organisations in providing facilities and services, designed to generate a well integrated community. The second part of the paper will review evidence from the USA and Australia to see how far there is a convergence in this respect in advanced economies. The paper will conclude by discussing the extent to which housing management practice is changing, particularly in areas of mixed development, whether there is a convergence in practice between different countries and how far these trends are supported by theories of governmentality.