Urban History

Research Article

Governmentality on the Park Hill estate: the rationality of public housing


a1 Wolfson College, University of Oxford, Linton Road, Oxford, OX2 6DU


This article evaluates the inherent ambiguity of the landmark Park Hill housing estate in Sheffield, England. Incorporating Foucault's theories on governmentality and biopolitics, this article explores how techniques of power and control radically affected the way this building was both used and viewed. It shows how conflicting discourses about human needs and desires influenced the way that subjects were housed, managed and regulated in Sheffield during the supposedly homogeneous welfare-state years.