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Affordable Housing

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

Globally, there has been a consensus over the issue of affordable housing markets are being influenced by local planning agencies and the local governments, as they know their geographical areas, demographics, and housing characteristics better (Sirmans & Macpherson 2003, 133-155). Such localised pragmatic approach towards planning promotes affordable housing strategies more convincingly (Sirmans & Macpherson 2003, 133-155). In this newly evolved global trend in affordable housing, there has been a paradigm shift from public policymaking tools to more quality conscious implementation through private organisations. (Graddy & Bostic 2010, 181-199). Such paradigm shift is because of the shortfalls of public sector organisations regarding their ideological preferences, fiscal pressures on available public services and increasing popularity of private-sector efficiency, innovation or the financial capacity (Graddy & Bostic 2010, 181-199).

At detail policy level envisaged by public sector planning, there is a need for self-reliant income-generating schemes for the economically weaker section (Bhattacharya 1994, 454). These income sources will pay off their cost of housing and public services Bhattacharya 1994, 454). It is equally important that they have these income-generating activities on the same land easily accessible to their new house (Bhattacharya 1994, 454). Such revenue-generating activities will make their housing more affordable and spatially effective (Bhattacharya 1994, 454). Also, a sense of neighbourhood or community is to develop amongst the beneficiaries that may solve their day to day issues other than just the essential need for affordable housing (Bhattacharya 1994, 454).

Despite these efforts, research points to several reasons why the housing affordability gap persists (cited in Burnstein et al. 2006, 7-16). First, affordable housing policies by most of the government bodies aim at homeownership, whereas the households can only afford to rent these houses (cited in Burnstein et al. 2006, 7-16). Second, the subsidies given to affordable housing are not sufficient for the lowest income populations (cited in Burnstein et al. 2006, 7-16). Finally, due to a vast gap between rich and poor, even after a substantial reduction in the housing cost, it would still not be sufficient for the purpose (cited in Burnstein et al. 2006, 7-16). Thus, the noble goal of providing affordable housing is far from reality and is trapped in poverty (Sirmans & Macpherson, 2003, 133-155). The government should thus focus on enforcing individual rights by creating opportunities for them utilising their full potential (Sirmans & Macpherson 2003, 133-155).


Bernstein, M., Kim, J., Sorensen, P., Hanson, M., Overton, A., & Hiromoto, S., “Affordable Housing and Lessons Learned from Other Natural Disasters,” In Rebuilding Housing Along the Mississippi Coast: Ideas for Ensuring an Adequate Supply of Affordable Housing, 7-16. Santa Monica, CA; Arlington, VA; Pittsburgh, PA: RAND Corporation, 2006 Accessed 7 July 2018

Evans, D. Bringing the Power of Design to Affordable Housing: The History and Evolution of the Affordable Housing Design Advisor. Cityscape, 16(2), (2014): 87-102. Accessed July 6, 2018,

Graddy, E., & Bostic, R. “The Role of Private Agents in Affordable Housing Policy.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory: J-PART, 20, (2006): I81-I99. Accessed July 6, 2018,

K. P. Bhattacharya. “Affordable Housing.” Economic and Political Weekly, 29(9), (1994): 454-454. Accessed July 6, 2018,

Sirmans, G., & Macpherson, D. “The State of Affordable Housing.” Journal of Real Estate Literature, 11(2), (2003): 133-155. Accessed July 5, 2018,

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