Journal article

The shift away from hierarch­ical forms of government to more porous forms of governance with regard to public assistance in developed nations, has reshaped lifetime experiences of housing under a range of policy regimes.

Governance is a signal feature of contemporary life and the delivery of programmes and services in developed economies, but it is a dimension of housing that has received relatively little explicit attention among housing researchers and policy-makers. The concept of ‘governance’ stands in contrast to established notions of government, in that it incorporates a broader range of actors in the delivery of social and economic well­ being, and generates a diffuse set of relationships and decision-making structures. Governance arrangements, in some respects, reduce the capacity of governments or the state to directly determine outcomes. On the other hand, they open up the potential for a wider range of outcomes that may be more effective in their reach because of the engagement of diverse stake­ holders. This article begins by considering the definition of governance before moving on to examine its evolution and expression in developed economies over recent decades. It notes that governance arrange­ments may differ between nations and systems of government, and considers the ways in which govern­ance has been applied in a number of settings, including urban regeneration projects and the provision of social housing. The article then examines a number of exam­ples of governance arrangements in the housing sphere, before concluding with a discussion of the implications for the future.

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