This year’s Housing Studies Association Annual Conference is on the theme Justice, inequality and the implications of political change. It takes place, as usual, in York between April 8th-10th 2015.
This year I’m presenting a workshop paper called Housing, autonomy and justice. Here’s what it’s about:
Housing policy is assuming greater prominence in UK political debate in the run up to the 2015 General Election than has been the case for many years. The political system is subjected to demands for greater housing policy activism from a range of stakeholders with differing motivations.
Some arguments deployed in making the case for greater activism are instrumental: for example, arguments about improving the functioning of the economy. Some arguments are based upon the negative consequences for the welfare of households of experiencing poor affordability, fuel poverty, insecurity, or poor living environments. These latter arguments are sometimes, but not always, linked to claims about housing rights and the right to housing.
It is this latter dimension of the debate that this paper seeks to explore. The paper is largely a work of reflection and synthesis. Its primary aim is to bring together strands of argument about the impact of adequate housing on well-being, and in particular debates about the role of housing in supporting human flourishing. These debates provide a platform for discussions about rights. The paper argues that rehearsing, refreshing and restating these arguments offers vital underpinning for arguments demanding greater policy activism and claims to housing rights.