Comparative case studies of housing and welfare outcomes by using the capability approach

Boram Kimhur

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific

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This presentation summarises the research proposal for developing a model for applying the capability approach to housing studies, and testing the model through a case study in Manila. The conceptual framework of this research lies in a comparative analysis of key theoretical approaches to well-being in the field of welfarism, planning and development: i.e. utilitarian and capability approach. Welfare-housing framework has deeply been rooted in welfarism and utilitarianism. They have been dominant in analysing housing outcomes as well as designing housing policies for low-income groups and the poor. Meanwhile, in development studies, the capability approach has substantially influenced on the research of poverty and well-being, and also on policy recommendations. The capability approach, pioneered by economist-philosopher Amartya Sen, claims that social policy framework and its evaluative approach should move beyond the norms of welfarim and utilitarianism. This research proposes to examine the extent to which the housing policies/programmes in Manila are linked to or influenced by utilitarian and capability approach, and to analyse each policy or programme’s impact on households’ well-being. It first examines what dimensions of capabilities are relevant to housing. Based on the findings, it evaluates the impact of housing programmes on the capabilities identified, and thus eventually well-being of the urban poor. This research aims to examine the applicability of the capability approach and its contributing value to welfarism-oriented practices that are dominant in housing policy and planning field. The case study – a model test – plans to conduct a comparative study of three settlements in Manila, in which public housing, slum upgrading, and community-driven housing programmes have been implemented. The research expects to reveal what aspects are missing or fulfilled in different housing approaches for enhancing the urban poor’s capabilities and well-being, and thus to be able to provide a recommendation for housing policy development as well as its effectiveness evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventENHR Conference 2018: More together, more apart: Migration, densification, segregation - Uppsala, Sweden
Duration: 26 Jun 201829 Jun 2018


ConferenceENHR Conference 2018


  • capability approach
  • housing policy
  • urban poor
  • well-being
  • welfarism
  • utilitarianism


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