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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2007): Social housing - overseas

Housing affordability and planning in Australia: the challenge of policy under neo-liberalism

A. Beer, B. Kearins and H. Pieters

Housing Studies, vol. 22, 2007, p. 11-24

In the context of neo-liberalism, planning solutions are seen as a low-cost “technical fix” to the challenge of providing affordable housing in high cost metropolitan housing markets where the capacity to increase the supply of land on the fringe is limited and where governments are reluctant to release large volumes of land for urban development because of the detrimental impact on Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD). Governments turn to planning strategies because the philosophies of neo-liberalism effectively rule out strategies, such as the expansion of social housing, that would be more likely to deliver affordable homes.

Housing affordability in the Republic of Ireland: is planning part of the problem or part of the solution?

M. Norris and P. Shiels

Housing Studies, vol. 22, 2007, p. 45-62

Strong economic growth, falling unemployment and population increases fuelled house price and rent inflation in Ireland in the period since the mid-1990s. This development has not caused affordability problems for existing home owners, but has created difficulties for those aspiring to get a foot on the property ladder. Ireland’s relatively permissive planning arrangements have not contributed significantly to these problems, because they have not constrained output in most parts of the country. Other policy instruments, notably fiscal stimulants of demand for second homes, have had a greater impact. There are also qualitative problems related to laissez-faire planning, including monotonous low-density suburban development and an excess of single dwellings in the countryside. The Planning and Development Act 2000 seeks to use planning gain mechanisms to deliver affordable housing for rent or sale to low-income households, but the implementation of the tenure mixing provisions of the legislation has proved challenging for local authorities.

Housing inequalities in an enlarged European Union: patterns, drivers, implications

M. Norris and P. Shiels

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.17, 2007, p. 65-76

This article examines variations in housing quality, accessibility and affordability in the EU, and on this basis proposes a typology of inter-country variations in housing conditions. This typology reveals good housing conditions in the “long-standing” Northern EU member states, intermediate conditions in most of the remaining “long-standing” member states and poor conditions in many of the new Central and East European member states. The institutional context in which these variations have arisen is considered in relation to: housing tenure systems; finance and subsidy systems; construction systems and trends; and governance systems

Planning, land and affordable housing in Hong Kong

R.L.H. Chiu

Housing Studies, vol.22, 2007, p. 63-81

This paper argues that land and development rights ownership enables the Hong Kong government to operate a massive public housing programme to meet the needs of half the population at affordable rent and price levels without having to resort to planning tools. However, the availability of subsidised housing still depends on other factors, notably government commitment to solving housing problems. Government land ownership and planning tools have proved less useful in regulating private house prices, as these were influenced by other political and economic factors.

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