Understanding the processes of scaling-up community-led housing

Philippa Hughes


Philippa’s research explores the factors involved in the development of the community led housing sector in England. The project investigates the role of the wider environmental, political, and social factors in enabling community led housing development and the role of professional support for community groups in growing the movement.


Community led housing is, broadly, any housing in which community members have significant and ongoing engagement in the development process, that involves some form of collective ownership or stewardship and is explicitly beneficial to the local community. Key models of community led housing include community land trusts, co-ops, cohousing projects, and varieties of self-build. These practices demonstrate the potential for developing housing in ways that are more locally focused, participatory and equitable as well as offering unique solutions to specific affordability crises.

After a recent period of growth in England, it is hoped that the numbers of homes delivered through community led housing will continue to increase over the coming years. A network of regional enabling hubs has been established to facilitate this. This research investigates the ways in which these hubs enable growth at a regional level through a comparative analysis of three case studies of regional enabling hubs supported by research conducted with national stakeholders.

Research Methods

The research compares community led housing development across three regions using a qualitative research design. Through comparison, key enabling and constraining factors in community led housing can be identified and the processes through which community led housing development is facilitated can be mapped out.



Interdisciplinary Forum on Innovative Housing Solutions. In 2021, Phillipa and fellow Grantham Scholar Charles Gillott hosted a forum on innovative housing solutions. They were inspired to do this by their conversations with each other during which they learned how different disciplines approach housing. Having met through the Grantham Centre, they both research housing, but Phillipa is based in social sciences and Charles is an engineer.

In this blog, they reflect on what they learned through the forum and from one another. If you want to watch a sample of this forum, then check out the YouTube link below as part of the forum was recorded for our sustainability webinars.

The right to housing in the context of the climate emergency in the UK. In this blog, written for Just Fair, Phillipa looks at the relationship of housing to the climate crisis and women’s rights.

Sustainability webinars 2021

Phillipa and other Grantham Scholars organised a webinar about housing as part of our public engagement work in 2021. For this event, experts from Nation Wide and community led housing projects discussed innovation in housing supply. And now this webinar is available on our YouTube channel.

You can watch How can we enable sustainable innovation in the UK housing supply? by clicking the video below.

Foodhall volunteer work

Phillipa volunteers at Foodhall, a community kitchen in Sheffield. During lockdown Foodhall transformed into a food delivery service for the most vulnerable and those struggling to get access to food. We interview Phillipa to find out more about Foodhall and what it was like volunteering their during the pandemic. Read the interview here.

Annual Symposium 2020

At our Annual Symposium 2020 Phillipa spoke about her research and her work with Foodhall. During this talk she spoke about the impact the pandemic has had on food insecurity in Sheffield. You can find more here: Symposium ’20: Racial justice, Covid and the SDGs.

Social media

You can find Philippa Hughes on Twitter.


Professor John Flint

Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS)


Tom Moore

School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool