Housing Policy: Origins and Variations

  • John Doling


Housing is a necessity. It is precisely because it is a necessity that people will always find somewhere to live. This will not always be a well-built, spacious and permanent dwelling with a full range of facilities. In some societies, financial pressures may well force many to live in self-built shanty dwellings sited on illegal sub-divisions and without proper sewerage systems or formal schools; others will illegally squat; some will inhabit dwellings with short-term and insecure contracts; yet others will be forced to live with parents or friends; others to sleep in the metro or in shop doorways. For some, living in a horse-drawn van or squatting may be matters of choice made around lifestyle decisions, but, in general, the solutions people find will reflect the level and stability of their incomes and the cost of various alternative housing solutions. In general, the so-called ‘Iron Law’ of housing operates: that those groups in societies with the greatest command over material resources will live in the biggest and highest quality homes and those with least command will find the lowest quality solutions; and, for the latter their housing circumstances will be socially unsatisfactory.


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© John Doling 1997

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  • John Doling

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