Report

Housing social cohesion: do housing policies and housing assistance make a difference to Australian communities?

23 Jul 2007
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Results indicate that various aspects of housing do have a direct relationship with social connectedness within communities, over and above the mediating impact of inequalities. Within Australian public policy it has become something of an orthodoxy to assume that housing and planning policy initiatives are positively linked to outcomes such as family functioning, educational attainment, participation in paid employment, physical and mental health, and cohesive community life, among others. This is despite the relative dearth of empirical evidence indicating that this is so and, in particular, why this may be the case. This paper from the 2007 Australian Social Policy Conference presents findings from one of the first ever studies to investigate these relationships empirically, under the umbrella concept of ‘social cohesion’. Social cohesion is defined in terms of three key dimensions: inequalities; social connections; and cultural context. Using this concept, we present findings of an AHURI funded project which, using existing survey data (HILDA and AIFS Social Capital data), analyses how each of these dimensions of social cohesion relates to various dimensions of housing and housing assistance. Results indicate that, importantly, various aspects of housing do have a direct relationship with social connectedness within communities, over and above the mediating impact of inequalities. As well, we find evidence to support the current policy emphasis upon place-based housing programs.

 

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2007
35
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