Click to receive personalized book recommendations daily.
Check Out These
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
See the List
Best Seller
Municipal Dreams by John Boughton

Municipal Dreams

Municipal Dreams by John Boughton
May 15, 2018 | 336 Pages
See All Formats (2) +
  • Paperback $16.95

    Apr 16, 2019 | 336 Pages

  • Hardcover $26.95

    May 15, 2018 | 336 Pages

  • Ebook $9.99

    May 15, 2018 | 336 Pages

Product Details


“Reveals a parallel universe, seemingly familiar but deeply strange. Municipal Dreams maps a country where major aspects of city building were considered by both sides of the political spectrum to be far too important to be left to the rentier and the developer. Boughton’s book works as a gazetdrteer of public achievement—from Arts and Crafts cottages to modernist monuments to ordinary streets, from Hammersmith to Hull—and a nuanced but polemical tale of how the municipal idea was destroyed, revealing the caricatures and pseudo-history that were used to convince us that the places built to swindle us were better than the places we built for ourselves to live in.”
—Owen Hatherley, author of The Ministry of Nostalgia

“Follows the epic story of British council and social housing from its Victorian origins to twentieth-century estates, the Right to Buy, and the Grenfell fire. While every page is rich with fascinating detail, Boughton also tells the grand narrative of how modern housing was created for millions, and how that dream has been cynically and carelessly undermined. This is an inspiring read and a necessary corrective to the myths that seek to destroy one of the most important struggles of our times—the drive for decent housing for all.”
—John Grinrod, author of Outskirts

“Crucial for understanding the state of housing in Britain. Through an impassioned and detailed description of how council housing was created, transformed, and ultimately undermined, Boughton explains the origins of the current crisis. Municipal Dreams proves that an alternative housing system is not only possible, but was once the goal of policymakers, architects, and citizens across the UK—and could be again.”
—David Madden, author of In Defense of Housing

“A hugely timely book, making the case for decent social housing through a detailed and fair-minded history. Everyone should read it.”
—Barnabas Calder, author of Raw Concrete

“For the past few years his writing has been an elegant and compendious ongoing exploration of Britain’s social history through its council estates. The book celebrates an era during which dreams of shelter and security for all—not just those who could afford to purchase it—were in large part made a reality, and asks us if we oughtn’t to consider reviving that dream before it gets destroyed completely … There couldn’t be a better time for this book.”
—Lynsey Hanley, Guardian

“Boughton traces this history well. A fine survey of an astonishing achievement.”
—Ed Heathcote,Financial Times

“Detailed history of social housing in the UK.”
—Hugh Pearman, Spectator

“Required reading … provides a comprehensive history of Britain’s council estates [that] challenges the well-worn narrative.”
—Anna Minton, Prospect

“Boughton’s forensic history of public housing effectively sets the scene for the Grenfell disaster.”
Camden New Journal

“This serious, heartfelt book makes a convincing case that publicly provided homes have to be at least part of the response to the dysfunctional state that British housing has now attained.”
—Rowan Moore, Observer

“It will become a standard tome for students, academics and practitioners … It should be required reading for Jeremy Corbyn, John Healey and whoever is the Conservative Housing Minister this week.”
Inside Housing

“A well-written, humane and even-handed appraisal of the successes and failures of municipal and national housing programmes from the 1890s to the present.”

Looking for More Great Reads?
Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now
Back to Top