This book brings together information about the development of housing policy in a number of countries of south and east Asia. The countries selected are the more industrialised and economically advanced: Japan as the first and pre-eminent industrialised economy in the region; the four little tigers of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan; and three of the next wave – Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The rationale for bringing them together in a single book has two main dimensions: the gap in the existing literature, and lesson learning.
Going back at least to the start of the 1980s, the interest from all parts of the world in housing systems and housing policy has increased greatly. Indeed, measured in terms of the numbers of journal articles and books published, and in the number of journals dedicated to housing issues, the rate of increase has accelerated. There is now a considerable body of knowledge on the way housing issues and problems differ among various countries, and how they have been addressed by national policy makers.
Whatever the growth of this corpus of knowledge, its geographical spread has been distinctly patchy. Here, we refer to knowledge that is not limited to researchers, policy makers and others working and living within the country to which it relates, but to knowledge that has been shared – through publication in internationally available journals and books, and of course the internet – with interested groups in other countries. It is in the industrialised countries of the west – the OECD's old industrialised countries, with the partial exception of Japan – where information is most widely spread beyond individual borders. This has been supplemented in the 1990s, following the demise of the Soviet Union, by widening access to information about housing in Russia and the former satellite countries of Eastern Europe. Thus, a number of excellent publications have provided an understanding of the steps that their housing systems have taken as part of their general transition to market economies. Not only are there numerous papers and reports, as well as books about some of the individual countries, there are also publications that consider the countries comparatively. Information about