Towards an integrated comprehensive heuristic for housing research

One of key challenges of housing research is to develop a comprehensive heuristic that can be used as a framework for understanding any housing system. (A heuristic is guide for undertaking research. It identifies the basic variables and their relations that constitute housing.)

To date most housing heuristics have had a limited focus, either on the provision of housing (for, example the work of Michael Ball and Michael Harloe, or that that of Peter Ambrose etc.) or on the structuring of housing tenures (for example, the work of Jim Kemeny). Moreover, it has had a decidedly European focus.

What is needed, however, is a heuristic which incorporates as broad a range of housing systems as possible:

  • whether informal housing, refugee settlements, self-build housing or formal housing systems
  • whether now or in the distant past
  • whether in  Asia, Africa, South America, North America, Europe, Australia or the Pacific
  • whatever beliefs and values informed it
  • however decisions/agreements are made about it
  • whatever economic processes produced it
  • whatever technology is incorporated into it.

A comprehensive housing heuristic will then incorporate environmental, vital, technological, economic, political, cultural, personal and religious dimensions.

This post allows you to comment on three publications that discuss an integrated comprehensive heuristic for housing research:

  • a 2017 conference paper “A Holistic Theory of Housing: What Is It and Why We Need One For Housing Policy”
  • a section of a journal article, “The Eight Enduring Challenges in Housing Studies – on Explanations, an Integrated Comprehensive Heuristic and Implementation: Some Comments on Mark Stephen’s article”
  • some sections of a journal article, “Researching Housing in a Global Context: New Directions in Some Critical Issues”
Other posts on
Foundations for housing research

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