Approach to housing justice from a capability perspective: bridging the gap between ideals and policy practices

Boram Kimhur*

*Corresponding author for this work

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When correcting policies to tackle rising housing inequality, certain principles of housing justice are necessary. Recently, the capability approach to justice has attracted the attention of housing scholars, as promising guidance to compensate for problems in conventional policy approaches. However, the practicality of its policy application remains uncertain. This article suggests how to manage the issues creating gaps between the philosophy of the capability approach and housing policy practices, along the chain of essential questions of justice theories (which ideal institutions, metrics of justice, and distributive pattern rules?). Building on this reasoning, the article proposes that housing policy be guided by the changes in unjust housing situations in terms of people’s capability for housing, instead of by absolute principles of distribution, or characteristics of welfare state/housing regimes. For evaluating housing capability, this article proposes to assess housing opportunities, housing securities and housing abilities. The article concludes with implications for the roles of comparative housing research in implementing the proposed approach.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalHousing Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Housing justice
  • housing inequality
  • social justice
  • distributive justice
  • capability approach
  • comparative housing research


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