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Housing niches: New directions for housing and urban policy


Laura James, Lyrian Daniel, Rebecca Bentley, Emma Baker


Housing influences life chances and trajectories through many roles, differently and in relation to the socioeconomic characteristics of people and population groups. This article uses the concept – ‘housing niches’ to present an alternative, bottom-up, plural and bundled view of housing and advantage.

Using a large, representative sample of an Australian rental population (the Australian Rental Housing Conditions Dataset [ARHCD]), our analysis describes housing as multidimensional, bound across other aspects of people’s lives. Understanding advantage requires methodologies that capture risk as cumulative, mediated by multilevel social processes that expose and select particular populations to particular residential environments that contribute to people’s multiple disadvantage.

Housing niches compel research and debate on comprehensive housing policy as not only necessary, but to have an imperative of cumulative risk and more broadly, inequality and poverty reduction.

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