How to Apply the Capability Approach to Housing Policy? Concepts, Theories and Challenges

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Abstract

Housing has played a significant role in increasing inequality. It has been financialised and losing its human and social dimensions. A critical review of housing policy directions is needed to explore a new housing approach. This article revisits the underpinning perspectives of housing policy discussions through the lens of the capability approach. The capability approach is a normative evaluative approach to understanding poverty, well-being, and justice. It argues that policy should primarily focus on expanding individuals' capabilities instead of resources and utilities. From its perspective, understanding the sources and nature of capability deprivation and inequity is central to removing existing injustice in our society, and to re-establishing ethics at the centre of policy discussions. What implications for housing studies can we draw from the capability approach? The article presents a conceptual application of the capability approach to housing policy discussions, and concludes that a capability-oriented housing policy framework has an added value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-277
Number of pages21
JournalHousing, Theory and Society
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Amartya Sen
  • capability approach
  • Housing policy
  • justice
  • well-being

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