Journal article

Mobilities of Disadvantage: The Housing Pathways of Low-income Australians

Rental housing Private rental Affordable housing Housing Australia

Mobility is often overlooked in debates about spatial disadvantage, which tend to focus on place. In this paper, the focus is on residential mobility and the ways in which it derives from, and contributes to, processes of social disadvantage. Building on David Clapham’s concept of ‘housing pathways’, mobility-based disadvantage is analysed with a focus on questions of housing quality, control over residential moves and accumulation of economic, social and cultural capital through such moves. These themes are considered in an empirical study of the housing pathways of sixty low-income households in Australia, through which four typical patterns are identified as ‘mobilities of disadvantage’: hectic private rental pathways; pathways of homelessness; pathways out of homeownership; and, repeat moves in and out of social housing. These pathways represent one neglected aspect of the ‘unfair structure’ of the Australian city, as a network of pathways rather than a mosaic of places.

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