Article

Urban rhythms in a small home: COVID-19 as a mechanism of exception

Citation

Preece J, McKee K, Robinson D & Flint J (2021) Urban rhythms in a small home: COVID-19 as a mechanism of exception. Urban Studies. https://doi.org/10.1177/00420980211018136

Abstract
The amount of living space we have access to is one manifestation of the unequal distribution of housing resources within societies. The COVID-19 pandemic has required most households to spend more time at home, unmasking inequalities and reigniting longstanding debates about the functionality and experience of smaller homes. Drawing on interviews across three UK cities, this article attends to the changing household routines of individuals living in different types of small home, exploring daily life before and during ‘lockdown’. Using the concept of urban rhythms, the data show that the lockdown has intensified existing pressures of living in a smaller home – lack of space for different functions and household members – whilst constraining coping strategies, like spending time outside the home. Lockdown restrictions governing mobility and contact acted as a mechanism of exception, disrupting habitual patterns of life and sociability, and forcing people to spend more time in smaller homes that struggled to accommodate different functions, affecting home atmospheres. For some, the loss of normal strategies was so significant that they sought to challenge the new rules governing daily life to protect their wellbeing.

Keywords
Housing; Inequality; Neighbourhood; Urban Rhythms; Small Homes; COVID-19; home

Notes
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online

Journal
Urban Studies

StatusIn Press
FundersESRC Economic and Social Research Council
Publication date online27/06/2021
Date accepted by journal21/04/2021
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/32717
ISSN0042-0980
eISSN1360-063X