‘The Right to Housing: A Research Agenda’

Edward Elgar Publishing
Publication Type:
A Research Agenda for Housing, 2019, pp. 15 - 30
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Housing provides and protects some of our most fundamental needs. It shields us from the elements and provides refuge from external physical threats. It gives us a base from which to build a livelihood and take part in the community, from the neighbourhood to the state. Moreover, housing provides a space in which our psychological needs can be met and fostered. As I have explored elsewhere, housing is important in the formation and protection of identity, community and place in the world (Hohmann, 2013). The recognition of the right to housing in law is based on an appreciation of the importance of housing to privacy, autonomy and freedom; its function in facilitating participation and inclusion in society; and its role in providing the material goods that make all of these things meaningful and possible. In other words, the principles that inform and underlie the right to housing include some of the most fundamental concerns of human rights (Hohmann, 2013). Moreover, while aspects of a person’s relationship with her housing and home may be protected by rights to privacy, property, liberty and security, by rights to vote and to freedom of expression, a right to housing shifts the focus, insisting that housing is not instrumental to the realization of other human needs and goods, but itself fundamental (Hohmann, 2013).
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