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- PublicationHousing Policy Review, 1990-2002This review documents the principal changes to the system of housing provision and to housing policy in Ireland which have taken place since 1990, as well as recent social and economic developments pertaining to housing, and examines the range of market and nonmarket housing options currently available. It is envisaged that this information will be of interest to students of disciplines related to housing such as social policy, public administration, regional and urban planning and architecture, to those who work in the housing field and the members of the general public who have an interest in this area. The latest national partnership agreement, Sustaining Progress, commits government to reviewing and reforming several aspects of housing policy and provision in this country, including programmes designed to assist low-income groups, and this document will provide useful background information for this review. By documenting the changes to housing policy and housing provision that have taken place since 1990, it will highlight anomalies or omissions in housing policy and provision, together with the most significant housing related challenges which will face the country in the coming years. It is envisaged that this information will enable policy makers to consider how these issues can be most effectively addressed. The opening chapter of the review highlights several aspects of the system of housing provision in Ireland that are distinctive in the wider European Union (EU) context. For instance the proportion of Irish people who own their own homes is much higher than the EU average, while the proportion who rent is relatively low. Furthermore, in contrast to many other EU member states, most social housing for rent to low-income households in this country is provided by local authorities, rather than non-governmental agencies. The number of dwellings per 1,000 inhabitants in this country is the lowest in the EU, although the Irish housing stock is comparatively young, and it is also distinguished by the high number of standard houses, in contrast to many other EU member states where a large proportion of the housing stock is made up of apartments. Chapter Two reveals that the last decade is distinguished by dramatic changes in the housing system. The years since 1995 have seen marked increases in private house prices (particularly in Dublin), in private sector rents and in social housing need. These trends are related to both economic factors including falling unemployment and rising disposable incomes and demographic factors such as population growth, together with a rise in the number of independent households and falling population size. In response to increased demand, house building rates have increased significantly in recent years, to the extent that housing output in Ireland was proportionately the highest in the EU during 1999, 2000 and 2001. However, private housing output is not concentrated in the parts of the country where demand is highest, while social housing output remains low in historic terms. The second part of the chapter assesses the impact that these changes have had for housing affordability and highlights affordability difficulties in the private rented sector and among lower income households seeking to gain access to the owner occupied sector. Chapter Three sketches the impact which this changing environment had in terms of the evolution of housing policy. The housing policy statements produced by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DoEHLG) in the early years of the decade are mainly concerned with ensuring an adequate supply of housing for the lower income sections of the population, principally by means of providing social rented accommodation. As a result of the high price inflation in the housing market in the late 1990s, the focus had necessarily broadened to the housing needs of the general population and a number of significant interventions in the owner occupied and private rented sectors were introduced. The broadening of the housing policy agenda over this period, together with the increased political priority which it was afforded, also 10 Housing Policy Review 1990-2002 had the effect of moving housing and accommodation issues to the core of the national policy agenda and of accelerating the pace of policy development in this area. Since 1996 eight major policy statements on housing have been issued by the DoEHLG. Furthermore, in contrast to the early 1990s when housing policy development was confined mainly to policy statements from this Department, by the late 1990s it had become a key consideration in most national social and economic policy statements including: the National Development Plan (NDP) for 2000 to 2006, the national agreement negotiated between government and the social partners in 2000 and 2003, and the revised National Anti-Poverty Strategy (NAPS) published in 2002. Chapters Four to Seven provide further details of the policy initiatives introduced since 1990 pertinent to the owner occupied, private rented and social rented housing tenures and to households with special housing and accommodation needs. In addition to describing the key features of these initiatives, these chapters also examine the available evidence on their impact on the ground. The key points raised in these chapters are as follows: Chapter Four reveals that the owner occupied sector has seen the greatest number of new initiatives introduced during the period under examination, as four new supports for low-income home buyers have been established since 1990, along with numerous reforms to the more longstanding schemes which target households of this type such as the local authority housing loans and the tenant purchase scheme. The number and variety of the supports now available for low-income home buyers should help to address the full spectrum of need created by the developments in the housing market examined in Chapter Two. However, these complex arrangements obviously raise administrative challenges and there is some variation in the level of take-up of the individual schemes and also over time and geographically. Chapter Five which examines private renting suggests that the longstanding decline of this tenure may have been reversed in recent years. In addition, this sector has recently been the subject of extensive intervention by government on the recommendation of the Commission on the Private Rented Residential Sector that reported in 2000.Many of these interventions are legislated for in the Residential Tenancies Bill which was being considered by the Oireachtas at the time of writing. It is premature to assess the impact of these developments at this stage.However, they have the potential to improve the rights of tenancy of tenants in this sector, address affordability issues and improve housing standards; their achievements in this regard should be kept under review. Chapter Six examines the policy developments in the social rented sector over the last decade. It highlights three principal categories of reform. Firstly, levels of social housing output have been increased significantly since the mid-1990s to meet growing social housing need. Secondly, efforts have been made to diversify the sources of provision, as in addition to increased building of social housing by local authorities, output by voluntary and co-operative bodies has also increased. Thirdly, the social housing policy agenda broadened beyond the traditional focus on matching the quantity of dwellings provided with housing need, and qualitative issues such as the design, planning, management and regeneration of the social rented stock were afforded more attention. These reforms raise a number of challenges for policy makers and practitioners in the housing field. These include: the financing of social housing output; the governance of more complex arrangements for social housing provision and the establishment of systems to assess the success of measures to promote improved social housing design and management. Chapter Seven examines the various supports that are available to the sections of the population with special housing and accommodation needs, e.g. members of the Traveller community, homeless people, older people, people with a disability and asylum seekers and refugees. It reveals that some of these provisions have had a mixed impact in practice and suggests that they merit further examination in order to identify appropriate reforms.
- PublicationSustainable communities? A comparative perspective on urban housing in the European context(ENHR, 2012-06)This paper examines the sustainability of urban housing in the European Union. It outlines a number of key criteria for assessing the sustainability of urban housing including mixed use developments, higher residential densities, high quality dwellings and neighbourhoods, affordability and food production. Utilising the 2007 tranche of the European Quality of Life Survey, it finds significant variations between countries in the sustainability of urban housing and communities and highlights the leaders and laggards in this regard. The relative success of urban areas in Denmark and Finland deserves some additional research, although there is scope for considerable improvement even in these ‘leader’ countries. The paper highlights significant problems with housing and communities in some Southern and some Eastern European urban locations, in particular Portugal, Hungary and Poland and Greece.
- PublicationYoung People's Trajectories through Irish Housing Booms and Busts: headship, housing and labour market access among the under 30s since the late 1960sThe economic, social and demographic history of the Republic of Ireland since World War II is distinctive in western European terms. While many of her neighbours experienced strong economic and population growth during the post war decades, resulting in unprecedented prosperity for the generation born during the post war baby boom, Ireland experienced economic stagnation and population decline during the 1950s, punctuated by a period of growth in the 1960s and early 1970s, until the traditional pattern of economic stagnation was reinstated in the 1980s (Kennedy et al 1988). This longstanding pattern of economic under performance changed in the mid 1990s with the advent of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ economic boom and during the decade which followed Ireland’s economic growth caught up with and then surpassed the western European average, employment and household disposable income grew radically and the Irish population expanded by 20 per cent (Clinch et al 2002).
- PublicationUrban Regeneration for a Sustainable City: The role of housing(IRCHSS, 2008-12)
- PublicationMultifamily Housing and Resident Life Satisfaction: Evidence from the European Social Survey(University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2015-08-12)Much of the literature on sustainable communities and compact cities calls for higher density housing including multifamily dwellings. Some case studies suggest problems with such dwellings. However, rigorous comparative research on this topic has not been conducted to date. This paper draws on a high quality, comparative dataset, the European Social Survey, to analyse a) the quality of multifamily dwellings in European urban areas, b) the characteristics of residents of these dwellings, c) their life satisfaction compared with those living in detached housing and d) the relative importance of built form in explaining life satisfaction. One of the main findings from the multivariate analyses is that built form, including residing in multifamily housing, is not a statistically significant predictor of life satisfaction when you control for standard predictors of life satisfaction (e.g. health, employment and income) and housing and neighbourhood quality.
- PublicationBetween Two Places : Emigrant Integration and Identity: A Case Study of Irish-born People Living in England(Irish National Committee of the European Cultural Foundation, 2000-06)Despite net in-migration to Ireland in the last years of the twentieth century, large numbers of Irish people continued to leave the country on an annual basis (29,000 is the estimate for 1999). Their primary destination was England where, according to the last British Census (1991), the Irish are the largest ethnic minority in England. This report reveals the findings of a case study of Irish emigrants living in England, drawing on data from a variety of sources including the British census, surveys, focus groups and interviews with employees of Irish agencies in England. The research was conducted by Dr. Nessa Winston of the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University College Dublin for the Irish National Committee of the European Cultural Foundation.
- PublicationHousing wealth, debt and stress before, during and after the Celtic TigerCompared to many other western European countries the Republic of Ireland is distinguished by historically high rates of home ownership. In 1971 60.7 per cent of Irish households were home owners compared to 50 and 35 per cent of their counterparts in Britain and Sweden respectively (Kemeny, 1981). In addition to socioeconomic factors such as the predominately rural and dispersed population distribution, these levels of home ownership rates were driven by extensive government support. Direct government supports for first time home buyers covered approximately 15 per cent of the costs of an average suburban home in the late 1970s and during this decade, government provided half of all mortgage loans, as the commercial mortgage market was underdeveloped (O’Connell 2005; Fahey, et al, 2004). Furthermore, since the 1930s social housing tenants have enjoyed the ‘right to buy’ their dwellings, at a substantial discount from the market value and, uniquely in western Europe, no ongoing taxes are levied on owner occupied homes (O’Connell and Fahey, 1999). These supports appear particularly generous in view of the underperformance of the Irish economy which, apart from a brief period in the 1960s/ early 1970s, declined or stagnated for much of the 20th Century. As a result, population growth followed a similar pattern, as despite a high birth rate, emigration was also high, particularly in the 1950s and 1980s (Kennedy, et al, 1998).
- PublicationLearning from the "leaders" ? Lessons for the creation or regeneration of more sustainable housing and communities in the European Union(2013-06)Recent research has identified a number of ‘leader’ countries with regard to the sustainability of urban housing (Winston, 2013). Drawing on the relevant literature in housing and planning, it outlined a number of criteria for assessing sustainable housing included: mixed use developments; public transport usage; higher residential densities; high quality dwellings and neighborhoods; housing affordability; food production; greenhouse gas emissions; and renewable energy use. Drawing on data from the 2007 tranche of the European Quality of life Survey, the paper ranked each country on the sustainability of its urban housing and communities according to each of the aforementioned criteria (see Table 1 for indicators and measures). It found significant variations between countries and highlighted leaders and laggards in this regard (see Table 2).
- PublicationDwelling type and quality of life in urban areas: evidence from the European Social Survey(2014-11)Much of the literature on sustainable communities and compact cities calls for higher density housing. However, case studies suggest that there can be problems with multi-unit dwellings. Problems identified include inadequate space, noise pollution, suitability for families and children, and a lack of personal green/outdoor space. These studies raise questions about the quality of life, life satisfaction and liveability for its residents. Some suggest that residing in these dwellings is likely to be short-term, that those who can do so relocate to lower density housing over time. However, rigorous comparative research on this topic has not been conducted to date. This paper draws on comparative data from the European Social Survey to analyse: the quality of multi-family dwellings in European urban areas; the characteristics of residents of these dwellings, and their quality of life compared with those living in detached housing.
- PublicationSustainable housing: A case study of the Cloughjordan Eco-village(Emerald, 2012-02)In 2007, the development of Ireland's first eco-village began in the small town of Cloughjordan, which is in a scenic rural area of the midlands region in Ireland. Approximately 1.5hours from the capital city of Dublin, it is accessible by train from a number of urban centres. In the past the town had suffered from both population decline and population ageing. Some of its key services, such as the bank, post office and a school, were either under threat or had already closed. However, the town and its hinterland are rich in both natural and social amenities. Before embarking on the empirical analysis of the Village, which is based on interviews with a range of stakeholders and local residents as well as site visits and documentary research, it is useful to reflect on the concept of sustainable housing.
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