Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit
Established in 1996, the Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) is a multidisciplinary research group. We seek to understand complex social issues and work towards social justice and environmental sustainability within the urban environment. We are actively engaged in research that highlights the processes, outcomes and impacts of marginalisation on individuals and communities.
The work of SHUSU reflects the complex and interconnected challenges faced by contemporary society. These challenges include ensuring fair access to housing, equitable welfare systems and services, population mobility, positive social relations within communities, ageing populations, environmental sustainability and social inclusion.
SHUSU brings together internationally renowned researchers as part of a multidisciplinary team and our approach is underpinned by the principles of collaboration, co-production and critical analysis. We provide a welcoming, inclusive and dynamic environment for postgraduate researchers, who work alongside our core research team to deliver projects that facilitate the practical application of knowledge.
- Housing and Neighbourhoods – Our work on identifying the housing needs of older people, diverse communities and homeless populations has led to real-world impacts in how policies are developed and practice is implemented. We have produced toolkits for central government departments, executive agencies and regional bodies. Research topics include: the relationship between welfare and housing, global housing and the transfer of knowledge between countries, diversity and housing, environments of ageing, homelessness, community safety, digital housing, regeneration, and social relations in neighbourhoods.
- Migration and Integration – Our work to date has looked at the experiences of specific groups of migrants including asylum seekers, refugees, migrant workers, third country nationals and EU migrants. Our focus has been on examining the approaches adopted within local areas to manage migration and integration initiatives. Our future activity will continue to build on this portfolio of work, but will also explore the intersections between migration and integration such as health and wellbeing, housing, social work, community-based initiatives and digitally enhanced integration.
- Sustainability and Society – This work is strongly linked to our core focus on social justice. Environmental degradation is often experienced disproportionately by the most disadvantaged communities and, as we transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon society, it is important to find ways to share the benefits across all social groups. Our team is an established voice in this field locally, nationally and internationally. We work closely with external organisations, including local authorities, housing providers, the voluntary and community sector, and Government. Whilst locally rooted, we are active in a number of national and international partnerships in the UK, Europe and beyond. Our work revolves around the following themes: socio-technical approaches to building retrofit and sustainable energy, fuel and energy poverty, active travel (walking and cycling) and green space and wellbeing.
- Work and Health – We are focusing on the inter-relationship between work, health and wellbeing. This includes: the study of people moving in and out of paid employment; the importance of technologies at work; management of health at work; the development of a broad public health response to promoting health and wellbeing in the workforce; and work as an aid to recovery. Our work also focuses on research into welfare to work and health-related support for benefit recipients, in particular the interventions that are delivered by occupational therapists.
- Work and Welfare – Understanding experiences of work and welfare have never been more critical to addressing issues of poverty and social exclusion. Our research in this area is helping to provide a policy relevant and contemporary evidence base on the experiences of particular groups within welfare systems and labour markets. This includes ground breaking research focusing on the impact of welfare conditionality, the evaluation of labour market activation approaches, as well as our commitment to understanding and helping to address poverty at a local and national level. Our focus going forward is the impact of welfare reform, access to and experience of employment-related training and support, employers and sustainable work opportunities, in-work poverty and progression and broader issues of poverty and social exclusion.