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The following principles guide a critical investigation into local authority housing databases and issues of regeneration.


1. Create actions, strategies, and things which can be shared:
Be aware of duplication of effort.

2. Think technically, politically, socially, creatively, legally:
Any activity is an opportunity to reflect on constantly changing world of houses, databases and regeneration.

3. Generally Keep text simple and to a minimum, draw from expertise:
Housing is a complex issue so be aware of jargon and which domain kit emerges from.

4. Create invitations and value contributions:
Text, software, images, devices, contraptions or ideas can be an invitation or prompt to others for further action. Any contribution, however small should be valued.

5. Consider how technologies shaping housing decisions:
Ask how decisions are made, who and what was involved in that process, and how might an alternative technological configuration produce a different outcome.

6. What is understood as data, databases, organisation, and what people and things do is not often not clear:
Simply follow what ‘feels’ important even if you can’t articulate it at the time.

7. Celebrate, record, and communicate mistakes:
Lots of small experiments, observations, and mistakes produce valuable insight that can later be acted on.

8. Find humour:
Regeneration is horrible experience for residents which is best laughed at to take away some of its power.


A. Revealing infrastructures

  • Identify forms of standardisation such as:
    • Any form used in testate regeneration.
    • Bills/statements such as service charges or rent requests
    • Tenacy/ownership agreements: Leasehold, freehold, Secure tenant, temporary tenant
  • Freedom of information requests:
    • Request list of all housing databases
    • Request forms used to collate data for those databases
    • Use them as a way to ask questions of council officers
  • Social hacking:
    • Locate expertise (resident, legal, financial, journalist, academic, technical, Local authority, governmental)
    • Pretend to be ‘The Council’’
    • Ask a contractor how they are managed by repairs managment systems.
    • Ask call centre staff to describe the forms they are using.
    • Tea and cake: Speak to a group of homeowners to go over a service charge bills.
    • Tea and cake: Speak to a group of tenants to explain how they pay housing bills
    • Outside workshop
    • Housing data workshop: Resident, Legal, Academic experts
  • Mapping people:
    • Council officer roles.
    • Ward councillors.
    • Contractors: maintanence and repairs
    • Contractors: regeneration consultation, design, build
  • Map permissions/rights in relation to data:
    • Leaseholders can…
    • Tenants can…
    • Ward councillors can…
    • All residents can…
    • Any citizen can…
    • Contractors can…
    • Surveyors can…
    • Reporters can…
    • Lawyers can…
    • TRA’s can…
  • Timelines:
    • Database systems used.
    • Legislation.
    • The regeneration process.

B. Techniques for parsing & collating data

  • Optical character recognition
  • Download cabinet reports
  • Existing software

C. Techniques for thinking through housing data / revealing infrastructures

  • Video
  • Table cloth
  • Tent
  • Bin statistics
  • An shadow housing database
  • Leaseholder form