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Concept of Affordable Housing

Describe about the Affordable Housing and its Terminology in Western World.

The aim of the literature review is to evaluate a number of resources regarding affordable housing and its terminology in the Western and other developing countries. Affordable housing is not a recent term and in the recent time, great hype has been made in many countries where the citizens have made certain approaches towards their basic rights of utilizing affordable housing. Countries like USA and Singapore are actively concentrating on their part of fighting for their basic rights (Williams 2015). These situations have made it compulsory for the government as well to think about the citizen of the country and make necessary arrangement to provide good and efficient housing facilities to the people of the country. A detailed description of the findings shall be discussed in the literature review of this topic.

There is no official definition of affordable housing but it has been widely accepted that there are a target groups of people who should be provided with housing and staying facility within a particular level of income. It has been pointed out by Salzer et al. (2016), that in case of Western countries with respect to US, if the housing cost is about 30% of the monthly income of the family, it can be said to be affordable. However, it has to be understood that the housing policy might vary from country to country depending upon the economic and societal condition of the particular nation or state. It has been found that local governments of Canada and US are firmly committed towards providing affordable housing to the people of the country (Balbo 2014). If the history of affordable housing has to be considered, it has to be mentioned that projects related to affordable housing has been started from the middle of the 20th century. Asian countries like Singapore and Hong Kong started their affordable housing projects from 1950s. In the recent time, certain affordable housing policy has also been made in China for the low income group of people. This approach was made to keep a pace in the growth of the society (McArdle 2016).

Affordable housing provides the necessary foundation of house and living area for every people. There has been considerable concern about affordable housing in the major developed and developing countries. Reading Jian, Wei and Daiyun (2013), it has been found that 32% of World’s population or almost 1 billion people live in slums even in majority of the developing countries. The locus of the global poverty is in fact moving towards the cities and the process has been termed as ‘urbanization of poverty’. It has been estimated that apart from the population at the urban regions, there are many people who do not have a proper shelter for the homeless people. In fact, number of people without proper shelter is increasing from time to time (Davison et al. 2013).

Characteristics of Affordable housing

Primarily, affordable housing calls for the involvement of the government in the entire developing and planning procedure. The development and the location of building the houses depend on the government of a country. In addition to this, a particular standard and the price of the house are also set by the Government (Massey et al. 2013). For affordable housing, the consumers are fixed. The consumers who are meant for the affordable housing are limited to certain sector of people. For such situations, the consumers get fixed based on the income level. Basically the lower income groups of people are given the opportunity of buying the affordable housing. In this respect, Lawson et al. (2014) commented that it depends on the income of the family members and the money that a family can afford for the sake of housing and shelter. At times, it happens that many people apply for the affordable house because of the low cost of the house even if they have good level of income (Shapiro and Kamarck 2015). It becomes an issue for the Government to allow the basic right to particular group of people. The complete process becomes very complicated for the Government as well to understand the necessity of the people and could not understand whom to provide the necessary housing facility and whom to reject.

As stated by Ramli, Zainal and Ali (2016), there are many countries that have housing policies that are persuasive towards modern standard and applied econometrics. Much of the housing policy in the developed countries is redistributive in nature. The housing nature of developed countries like US and Sweden has a strong foundation of the housing structure and has less potential of housing related issues and problems. Human development is always accompanied by urban development. In the view point of Zou (2014), Urbanization comes from the major activities like gathering food and making a proper living collection and infrastructure in order to create a better environment for the survival of human beings. Housing is a symbol of development because it is one of the major requirements of social and economic development of a country (Maclennan et al. 2014).

In the view point of Sharam et al. (2016), affordable housing has become an urgent and important topic of discussion in the recent time. In Western Countries, the social welfare system and housing policies are quiet mature as compared to other Asian countries. It has been observed that there remains an economic gap among the people in the society and it is for the same reason, many people could not afford proper housing (Christensen 2016). The price of real estate market has become unstable because many countries have faced major economic crisis after the World War II. It was by the beginning of the 21st Century, houses became more expensive. This has lead to unaffordable house dreams to many (Yates 2013). Providing affordable housing has been an important factor to consider to the Government of many developed countries.

Affordable Housing Policies in major countries

As stated by Tan et al. (2014), with the rapid growth and development of cities, the consequence has lead to overcrowding of region. There is no doubt that housing is one of the basic needs of human live. House provides a place for privacy and security for a person. When a large number of people started living in a particular region, there increases the competition among the residents of the place. With the continuous increase in the demand of housing, it resulted in a gap due to less supply of houses to people (Hay 2016). It has to be understood that the construction speed is slow as compared to the increasing demand of the requirement of house. If proper housing is not available to the particular group of people, then there arises crisis in the situation and at the adverse, people become homeless (Morrison and Burgess 2014). In this respect, it has to be said that with increasing number of people going homeless, it affect the developing nature of a particular country. If the situation gets worse, a country cannot be given stable developed situation as it has to be. It is therefore, important to keep a stability and sustainability in the growth and development of the infrastructure of the particular region (Austin, Gurran and Whitehead 2014). It is for the same reason, government have to take certain action to include policies that results in low-income household rights to the people of the country.

Affordable housing is one of the major issues in both Western and Eastern developing countries. There have been many ways of classifying affordable housing. There are different ways of classifying the housing and its characteristics based on its standard. It has to be understood that housing is not only a characteristic of commercial profit but it provides some kind of social security as well (Nguyen, Basolo and Tiwari 2013). Therefore, affordable housing is also an important factor for providing security to the people who are the residents of a particular country.

According to the Social Welfare Economic Theory, it has been understood that there welfare economics focus on private and social wealth (Lawson 2013). Sometimes, due to market failure, social fir practices related to wealth and economy is destroyed at certain instances. It has been stated that there should be provision towards making the economic approach similar for the people of country (Nguyen, Basolo and Tiwari 2013). There must be a balance of the complete economic structure in the country that shall keep a balance of the flow of money among the people in the country (Mandelker 2014). It is for the same reason, has been recommended that the higher earning people should be liable to pay more taxes. It is only by this means that there shall be a provision of balancing the entire economic condition of a country. If a check is not kept on the complete process, chances of a fair and balanced economic condition are expected (Maclennan et al. 2014). The concept of affordable housing can only be applicable if there is a clear distinction of the rich and the poor. It has to be understood that the affordable housing scheme is for the people who do not have the provision to afford housing for their living. It should be understood that for the people who are financially strong, it is very lucid for them to afford or buy houses for themselves (Nguyen, Basolo and Tiwari 2013). However, the level of comfort varies from the properties of a person to the other. If provision has to be made to keep a safe provision of shelter for the people of a country, it has to be made affordable for the people who are not capable enough to afford their housing.

Issues in Affordable Housing

American Housing Act was formed in the year 1937 and was put into action that marked the beginning of the affordable housing features in the country (Mandelker 2014). The effort was made mainly to change the government policy and to make effort and think about the people of the country (Christensen 2016). It has been proposed that federal financial help has to be made to the people belonging to the major slum areas. Renewable projects have to be made which are associated with the development of the slums and the other related urban areas. Again, it was claimed that to increase the authorization for the Federal Housing Administration that helped in the mortgaging process for the people who requires affordable housing for themselves (Mandelker 2014).

Provisions were made towards the continuous development and construction of buildings. It was aimed to supply more number of houses to increase the supply of the houses to the people living in the country. The tax payers and developers were asked to contribute towards the building of the houses and other major places where people can stay (Maclennan et al. 2014). The local government has put great impact on solving the problems of the people who did not have the provision of better shelter and residence of self. In fact, it has been committed towards the citizen of the country that low cost housing or housing with low tax or interest to the people who cannot afford proper housing for their shelter. Renting the houses is also another means that has been proposed by the government to support the people in need (Shapiro and Kamarck 2015). It was from this time, it was found that the people of US find it really helpful for themselves and found it helpful for finding a shelter for them. It was claimed that 25% of the household income shall be made for the sake of house rent (Nguyen, Basolo and Tiwari 2013). Government bodies also supported the low income people and provided help by the means of giving them subsidy or loans.

It has been observed that in developed and developing countries as well, there have been various issues and challenges related to public housing systems in order to help the lower income group of people. Government plays an effective role in helping the people who are below basic economic level and help them to tackle with the life activities (Shapiro and Kamarck 2015). In places like Sweden where the population is considerably low, providing housing provision and shelter to the people does not become an issue and the government themselves are likely to help the people in need (Maclennan et al. 2014). However, in case of the over populated nations like some countries in Asia, it becomes really challenging for the government as well to provide required provision to the target group of people. In such cases, the government as well as the people has to suffer in addressing the needs of the people.

Global affordable housing

In the same way, if the situation of Singapore is considered, there is also a similar kind of features observed in the country. As commented by Nguyen, Basolo and Tiwari (2013), solving the problems of the people related to the social issues and living factor should remain at the prime factor of requirements that needs to be fulfilled by the government. There is no issue if the common people ask for certain basic rights. The government should take necessary actions to overcome the situations that shall help the citizen to lead a life in comfort (Shapiro and Kamarck 2015). People have been asking for their basic rights of shelter and residence. In many cold countries, it also falls under the responsibility of the Governme (Nguyen, Basolo and Tiwari 2013)nt to think about the condition of the people of those countries. Affordable housing also includes the provision of providing warmth in the houses of the citizens. It has been found that majority of the population of the major developed countries live in one room. Therefore, if proper provisions are made to keep a stance of the security of the people, affordable housing has to be provided to the people.


The literature review section has highlighted the different perspectives of the housing development in major Western Countries. A detailed analysis of the approach of the Government in making the life of the people simple and supporting them with basic living rights have been analyzed. Privatization of housing could not settle the life long dispute that has been going on for the time being. It definitely falls under the consideration and the responsibilities of the Government to understand the importance of basic rights of human that also include the provision of housing. It cannot be denied that housing is an important factor that has to be included in the basic rights of the people. It shall be one of the main input from the government of a developed or a developing country. A country can only be considered developed if all types of rights and authorities are fulfilled by the government. Every major country from the West to the East and the Asian countries as well have understood the importance of providing the basic housing provision to the people of the particular country.

Reference list:

Austin, P.M., Gurran, N. and Whitehead, C.M., 2014. Planning and affordable housing in Australia, New Zealand and England: common culture; different mechanisms. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 29(3), pp.455-472.

Balbo, M. 2014, "Beyond the city of developing countries. The new urban order of the ‘emerging city’", Planning Theory, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 269-287.

Christensen, P.H., 2016, January. Investigating Solutions To The Affordable Housing Supply Challenges In Sydney, Australia: Considering Alternative Housing Typologies. In Pacific Rim Real Estate Society 22nd Annual Conference.

Davison, G., Legacy, C., Liu, E., Han, H., Phibbs, P., Van Den Nouwelant, R., Darcy, M. and Piracha, A., 2013. Understanding and addressing community opposition to affordable housing development. Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), pp.135-148.

Gibb, K., Maclennan, D. and Stephens, M., 2013. Innovative financing of affordable housing international and UK perspectives.

Hay, R., 2016. The changing image of affordable housing: design, gentrification and community in Canada and Europe.

Jian, L., Wei, L. and Daiyun, L., 2013. Research on the Planning of Affordable Housing in Metropolis Marginal Areas of Metropolis: Taking Dalian Quanshui Affordable Housing and Public Rental Housing as an Example [J]. Huazhong Architecture, 1, p.027.

Lawson, J., 2013. The use of guarantees in affordable housing investment-a selective international review.

Lawson, J., Berry, M., Hamilton, C. and Pawson, H., 2014. Enhancing affordable rental housing investment via an intermediary and guarantee.

Maclennan, D., Miao, J.T., Lutero, E., Young, G. and O'Sullivan, T., 2014. Global Affordable Housing Report: BRICS Plus Mortar.

Mandelker, D.R., 2014. Land use law. LexisNexis.

Massey, D.S., Albright, L., Casciano, R., Derickson, E. and Kinsey, D.N., 2013. Climbing Mount Laurel: The struggle for affordable housing and social mobility in an American suburb. Princeton University Press.

McArdle, A.L., 2016. Challenges to Achieving New York City's Affordable Housing Goals: Reconciling Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, Community Preference Requirements, and Fair Housing Laws. Andrea McArdle, Challenges to Achieving New York City's Affordable Housing Goals: Reconciling Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, Community Preference Requirements, and Fair Housing Laws, 43.

Morrison, N. and Burgess, G., 2014. Inclusionary housing policy in England: the impact of the downturn on the delivery of affordable housing through Section 106. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 29(3), pp.423-438.

Nguyen, M.T., Basolo, V. and Tiwari, A., 2013. Opposition to affordable housing in the USA: Debate framing and the responses of local actors. Housing, Theory and Society, 30(2), pp.107-130.

Ramli, F., Zainal, R. and Ali, M., 2016. Equilibrium Price Modelling of an Affordable Housing in Malaysia. International Journal of Supply Chain Management, 5(3), pp.126-132.

Salzer, C., Wallbaum, H., Lopez, L.F., Kouyoumji, J.L., Chalmers University of Technology, Institutionen för bygg- och miljöteknik, Byggnadsteknologi, Chalmers tekniska högskola & Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Building Technology 2016, "Sustainability of Social Housing in Asia: A Holistic Multi-Perspective Development Process for Bamboo-Based Construction in the Philippines", Sustainability, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 151.

Shapiro, R.J. and Kamarck, E.C., 2015. A Strategy to Promote Affordable Housing for All Americans By Recapitalizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Sharam, A., McShane, I., Bryant, L. and de Silva, A., 2016. Are not-for-profit organisations a source of land for affordable housing?.

Tan, J., Chen, L., Zou, W. and Zhou, Y., 2014. An Empirical Study on the Impacted Groups of Affordable Housing Termination Policy: A Case from Guangzhou.

Williams, P. 2015, "The affordable housing conundrum: shifting policy approaches in Australia", Town Planning Review, vol. 86, no. 6, pp. 651-676.

Yates, J., 2013. Evaluating social and affordable housing reform in Australia: lessons to be learned from history. International Journal of Housing Policy, 13(2), pp.111-133.

Zou, Y., 2014. Contradictions in China's affordable housing policy: Goals vs. structure. Habitat International, 41, pp.8-16.

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