Housing Policy Matters: A Global Analysis

By Shlomo Angel | Go to book overview

Measuring the Effect of Policy
on Performance

A Policy-Sensitive Model of the Housing Sector

The actual performance of the housing sector has as much to do with not building as it does with building, and in the future the balance will surely tilt in favor of the former. Surely, houses are all too real. They are the actual places in which we all live and they can be seen, touched and experienced directly. The construction process is real as well. It too can be seen, touched, and experienced directly. But neither can be understood, let alone changed for the better, without shifting our focus to not building, and to the connections between building and not building. This shift is essential for anyone concerned with improving housing conditions. It is quite clear -- as any squatter family involved in a political struggle to resist eviction knows -- that there is often more housing value in activities related to nonbuilding than there is in building.

This chapter aims at widening our understanding of the relationships between housing policy on the one hand, and building and dwelling on the other. We accomplish this first by putting them both in a broader economic, social, and political context, and second, by relating them both to the housing market. Not surprisingly, while all three elements -- the broad context, the housing policy environment, and the housing market -- are all situated in the virtual realm of neither building nor dwelling, they have an overriding effect on both. This chapter introduces a simple model of the housing sector which focuses on the causal relationships between contexts, policies, housing market conditions, and housing market outcomes -- the quantities, qualities, prices and rents of the actual stock of housing. Six such causal relationships are studied in detail in this book. 1 They are illustrated by the arrows in figure 6.1.

The overall economic, social, and political context of the housing sector is expected to affect housing market outcomes both directly and indirectly (through its effect on the housing policy environment and on housing market conditions). The housing policy environment is also expected to affect housing market outcomes both directly and indirectly (through its effect on housing market

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