Creating Community and Belonging in a Designated Housing Estate for Disabled People

This article in the journal Cogitatio thematic journal, Home, Housing and Communities: Foundations for Inclusive Society, presents findings from  the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland. It highlights how, in recent years, there has been an ideological push within social care away from segregated housing provision towards supported housing integrated within the wider community. Despite this, many housing solutions for older and disabled people continue to be built on a designated basis, with physical and emotional wellbeing outcomes being both contested and mixed.

After reviewing key policy relating to social care housing alongside some of the theoretical and ideological positions, this article explores the social and emotional outcomes of a diverse group of disabled people living with mental health difficulties, physical and intellectual impairments, illnesses and age-related conditions, who moved into a small, purpose-built estate of smart homes. Drawing primarily on qualitative data collected from tenants prior to moving and again seven months following relocation, the impact of moving into the estate on tenants’ sense of wellbeing and feelings of inclusion will be analysed and discussed in relation to efforts to build a new community.