How is family housing property reshaping welfare regimes? The Fifth Estate

Extract from an article by Richard Ronald

While intergenerational inequalities have become more pronounced in recent years, they also appear to have reinforced intergenerational cooperation and the revival of the family as a provider of welfare and economic security. Keynote speaker at the 10th Australasian Housing Researchers Conference 2017, Dr Richard Ronald from the Centre for Urban Studies, University of Amsterdam, and editor of the International Journal of Housing Policy, discusses his recent international project on how family housing property wealth is reshaping welfare regimes, and what Australia can learn from this research. 

In recent decades housing has become much more embedded in both the economic security of individual households and the wider political economy. Indeed, the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent Global Financial Crisis of almost a decade ago quite clearly demonstrated how deeply global finance has become embedded in our everyday lives through local property markets.

At the same time, housing wealth, and its accumulation, has become a focus of family welfare strategies, contributing to the increasing commodification of the home.

Together, housing financialisation and commodification have amplified the influence of housing conditions and market developments.

Nonetheless, contemporary understanding of housing as a social dynamic that can effectively shape different life courses and life chances, influence demographic relations and trends, and drive new divisions in terms of spatial and socioeconomic inequalities is still relatively limited.

My research addresses these developments in housing markets and systems across a diverse range of societies where housing has come to play a lead role in shaping contemporary social conditions.

My work essentially builds on a particular assertion – that housing processes, practices and systems provide a critical lens for understanding wider social and spatial relations and transformations. As such, the focus on housing is not simply a concern with shelter and the built environment (although these are critical), but also a means to engage with and integrate social, geographic, demographic, political and economic processes…(continues)

SOURCE: Richard Ronald, “How is family housing property reshaping welfare regimes?”,  The Fifth Estate, 23 jan 2017

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