Serena Jarvis

Serena Lehua Jarvis has a background in international relations and development. She graduated with distinction from the Bartlett, Faculty of the Built Environment with an MSc in Building & Urban Design in Development (2011), where she received a special commendation on her dissertation. Serena has experience in large-scale social housing interventions in the UK as well as the developing context. As part of her doctoral research, Serena interned as the Architectural Consultant in the Social Property Impact Fund of the London-based alternative asset manager, Cheyne Capital Management.

Hedge Fund Investment in Social Housing: Examining a New Policy to Meet Acute Housing Needs in Britain

Supervisors: Mark Cousins

At present, housing sits in a context of work that is largely ours to define. Traditional models of housing provision and finance are being challenged and will likely be modified or replaced altogether. This research project seeks to elevate the way we think about and design housing interventions for those in the greatest need. The thesis examines the rise of hedge fund investment in social housing in Britain today. It uses the ensemble between a hedge fund and a new generation of housing tenants as an entry point to explore a novel project for housing. New investors who are financing housing for those faced with acute poverty need innovative architectural input. This research responds to the challenge of how to design housing at a swifter timescale that could offer tenants the opportunity for significant social improvement over time. It presents an architectural radicalism of what an effective housing intervention could mean for those at the bottom level of the sector and how it is possible to achieve economic stability and integration within a recommended period. The thesis does not aim to make a scholarly contribution. It is putting forward the argument for and some details of, a new policy for housing in Britain that is backed by impact investment. The thesis aims to advance the objective, could this work as a new policy and why. Fieldwork at Cheyne Capital Management provided experience of impact investment in housing. Image credit: Gustav Dusing, Design Proposal for Integral Housing Strategy, Social Property Impact Fund, Cheyne Capital Management.