This positioning paper is the first output of a study that aims to critically review a range of approaches to conceptualising need in housing and social policy fields in Australia and internationally. The study seeks to provide an analysis of how housing needs in Australian housing might be reconceptualised in light of that review, and what implications this might have for housing policy.
The array of issues raised by the notion of needs is complex. What exactly are needs, and how should we think about them? Whose needs are we most concerned about, and why? What sorts of theoretical underpinnings have been developed around whether we ought to respond to certain needs, and how best to make such responses? These are difficult questions which require theoretically informed and ethically focused analysis, as well as practically minded responses. This Positioning Paper provides a critical discussion of the theoretical and conceptual issues surrounding these questions. Written by Tim Seelig, Vivienne Milligan, Peter Phibbs and Alice Thompson