Municipal Dreams presents an alternative history of the United Kingdom. This history begins in the slum clearances of the late nineteenth century and the aspirations of those who would build anew. John Boughton looks at how and why the state's duty to house its people decently became central to our politics. Traversing the nation, Boughton offers an architectural tour of some of the best and most remarkable of our housing estates, as well as many accounted ordinary; he asks us to understand better their complex story and to rethink our prejudices. His accounts include extraordinary planners and architects who wished to elevate working men and women through design and the politicians, high and low, who shaped their work, the competing ideologies which have promoted state housing and condemned it, the economics which has always constrained our housing ideals, the crisis wrought by Right to Buy, and the evolving controversies around regeneration. He shows how the loss of the dream of good housing for all is a danger for the whole of society - as was seen in the fire in Grenfell Tower.
John Boughton has published in the Historian and Labor History and gives talks on housing to a range of audiences. He is involved in a number of housing campaigns and lives in London. His blog is municipaldreams.wordpress.com.