Loughborough University
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Geographies of housing in multiple occupation

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posted on 2022-02-03, 09:59 authored by Andreas Culora
Despite the proliferation of Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO) having a transformative effect on a range of local housing markets during the last three decades, empirically-grounded investigations of geographies of HMO at various spatial scales are lacking. This thesis provides an original contribution to ongoing debates within geographic and housing studies by deepening understandings of the diversity of geographies of HMO, using the case study of Loughborough, in the East Midlands of England. First, a novel temporal examination of the HMO market is presented, via mapping and spatial analyses of the national geographies of HMO between 2011/2012 and 2016/2017. It is revealed that the HMO market grew by 30.8% between 2007 and 2017. Second, it is shown that concentrations of HMO have unfolded in diverse rural, suburban, peri-urban and other non-metropolitan locations. Importantly, this finding extends pre-existing understandings of HMO that tend to be tied to university and coastal towns/cities. Third, the relationships between geographies of HMO and broader demographic, socio-economic and cultural patterns are analysed. It is contended that the production of HMO is linked to broader processes including internal/international migration, socio-economic deprivation and processes of family formation and breakdown. By exploring student and non-student geographies of HMO in Loughborough at fine-grained geographical resolutions, the thesis thus identifies a broader range of geographies of HMO, which extend beyond university towns, largely understood as a product of studentification. A widespread non-student HMO market with distinct geographical patterns is exposed in the town. Furthermore, a mixed HMO market shared by students and non-students is shown to exist in Loughborough. Non?students are constituted by a diverse group including professionals, international migrant workers, low-skilled workers, benefit recipients and divorcees. It is argued that cross-cutting processes produce this demand for HMOs including housing affordability, and the demand for a mobile workforce in the town. Finally, the thesis provides valuable insights into the regulation of HMO. Overall, it is asserted that the changing geographies of HMO identified in this thesis are pertinent for furthering debates on housing markets, population change and cultural shifts in perceptions of shared living arrangements, particularly within the discursive context of a ‘broken housing market’.


Loughborough University. Charnwood Borough Council (Leicestershire, England).



  • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • Geography and Environment


Loughborough University

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© Andreas Culora

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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Darren Smith

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