Writing Task. The Case of the Grenfell Tower

The Grenfell Tower case highlights a number of dimensions of precarious housing, including the commodification of housing and the drive to extract profits from social housing, the lack of regulations to protect tenants from poor quality maintenance work, and the correlation between precariousness and immigration status. At the same time, it also highlights the willingness of tenants to fight for their rights and demand justice. In this way, exploring precarious housing poses questions for us all about housing standards and whose responsibility it is to ensure that housing is safe and secure for everyone. To consider this, we want you to undertake three steps: 

1. Please read back through the account of Grenfell Tower provided in Chapter 1.
Note down the key aspects of this case study. You may also want to update your knowledge by checking on the latest news on the case since the public inquiry is still ongoing. The Guardian newspaper has a weekly update on the inquiry available here: 
Grenfell Tower inquiry | UK news | The Guardian

2. Read or watch: 
a. Robert Booth’s article on the struggle for justice undertaken by the Grenfell Survivors group (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jun/11/how-grenfell-survivors-came-together-to-change-britain);
b. Andrew O-Hagen’s investigation “The Tower” (https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v40/n11/andrew-o-hagan/the-tower#viii-film) – the story is long, but it includes the option of listening as an audiobook at the bottom of the page; or
c. This documentary on the role of local democracy and local government in the Grenfell case:  

3. Identify key aspects of the case study by noting down responses (100-200 words per response) to the following questions:

a. What does precariousness mean to you?
b. What factors made Grenfell a case of precarious housing?
c. What responsibility do different actors bear for the tragedy?
d. What wider social, economic, and cultural processes create the conditions for precarious housing in a city like London?
e. How do those arguing for improved tenants’ rights following Grenfell make their case? How do they propose to make housing less precarious?

Last modified: Tuesday, 13 September 2022, 4:40 PM