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Changing paradigms in affordable housing, quality, and lifestyle theories

Salama, Ashraf M and Sengupta, Urmi (2011) Changing paradigms in affordable housing, quality, and lifestyle theories. Open House International, 36 (3). pp. 4-6. ISSN 0168-2601

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Abstract

Affordable housing has long been an important planning and design concern in large urban areas and around the peripheries of major cities where population growth has led to an increasing demand for descent housing environments. The issue of affordability has attracted researchers and scholars to explore planning and design determinants, financing mechanisms, cultural and social issues, and construction and building techniques. This interest has been the case for several decades since affordable housing themes have offered a rich research area that involves many paradoxes that keep presenting challenges for planners, architects, and decision makers. Housing costs are increasing in most cities and incomes are not increasing at the same rate. Governments, on the other hand, are unable to provide sufficient housing stock to bridge the gap between demand and supply due to decreasing housing budgets and the lack of investment. Undoubtedly, the issue of housing affordability is widespread worldwide. Governments have responded to this issue through ways of cost reductions in order to make homes available at a price that a user is able to pay. However, this area of concern has been a permanent preoccupation of housing technocrats consumed in the quality and location of the housing unit, often overlooking other socio-cultural and psychological dimensions adhered to it. The academic community is no exception; it has responded to the issue of housing affordability by conducting research that places emphasis on the physical aspects of dwellings, while oversimplifying other critical demands placed on affordable housing provision by society and the environment. Building on the earlier publications by the guest editors (Sengupta 2006; Salama, 2006; Salama and Alshuwaikhat, 2006; and Salama, 2007), this issue of open house international places high value on establishing links between issues that pertain to affordable housing, quality, and life style theories as manifested in socio-cultural factors, user preferences, and environmental attitudes. In essence, the papers selected for this edition address timely and pressing issues that continuously present themselves on the map of polemics on affordable housing both in developed and developing contexts, from Ecuador to Australia, from Turkey to Bangladesh and India, and from United Kingdom to Nigeria. Key issues of some of the papers presented in this issue are highlighted to reflect emerging understandings toward developing responsive affordable housing.