Housing aspirations: some implications for welfare housing policy


Gribbin, C.; Newton, Peter W.

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Social research on housing has grown rapidly during the last decade or so. Indeed, the need for social research in housing reflects something of the nature of housing itself---or at least what it has been seen to become. Housing fulfils a role both as a means of shelter and as a transmitter of information about a pousehold's position and achievement. The situation which Australia found itself in after the second world war---with an acute shortage of houses, rapid industrialisation and overseas immigration called for a massive increase in the housing stock and sustained a 'housing as shelter' philosophy for a number of years. Being an important subset of the national housing sphere, public housing was also highly motivated to 'produce the goods'. By the 1970s the societal setting had changed somewhat: the shortfall in housing had narrowed, demographic and economic transitions (from high growth to low or near zero growth) were in train, material well-being was high, traditional roles were being questioned, community expectations were higher than they had been in the past, there were calls for dialogue and corrmunity participation. It is perhaps understandable, therefore, that statements such as the one which follows, have recently emanated from state housing authorities: ' ... public housing authorities in this country have reached the cross-roads, and they are at this moment in a dilemma. Which way should we go? Which way will we be forced to go?' (Crane, 1977). There are no simple answers to these questions. As a starting point, however, it would seem necessary to investigate the ways in which different groups evaluate housing situations. Is it possible to speak of a commonality of aspirations as they relate to housing, or should one be looking for a range of residential value systems? It is our contention that the value systems currently operating in our urban society, particularly as they relate to housing, need to be understood and incorporated into policies concerned with housing provision. Implicit in this statement is the need for housing authorities to work to a program which is framed in terms of the needs and value systems present in our community rather than from a rather detached and insular position where confined attitudes often lead to programs which are out of step with current requirements.

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Conference paper


Processes influencing low income housing: Joint CSIRO-AHRC Seminar on Low Income Housing, Melbourne, Australia, 31 July 1978 / Peter W. Newton (ed.), pp. 87-106


CSIRO and Australian Housing Research Council

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