Housing policies: New times, new foundations

Duncan Maclennan
15th Apr 2005

An assessment of the possibilities and challenges for housing policy, drawing on experience in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

This paper uses recent experiences of housing policy in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand to consider the possibilities and challenges for modern housing policies. Duncan Maclennan argues that, in the 1980s and 1990s, changes in economic activity, social priorities, ideology and technical implementation stripped down approaches to housing policy. These tended to contract the scale of policy support, especially for housing production, focusing on income-related assistance and expanding home-ownership. Now, a revived recognition of housing’s significance for both social and economic well-being is leading to new policy approaches. Not all the four countries examined have shifted simultaneously. However, the study identifies both the common challenges and the particular issues arising in different countries.

Particular governance issues in Canada illustrate how old and new approaches might differ. The paper concludes with an overview of the common challenges that housing systems in the advanced economies are likely to confront.

Available in electronic format only.

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