Social exclusion and housing


The concept of social exclusion is no more useful than the widely used concepts of poverty and inequality when exploring issues of disadvantage and housing. But it is potentially helpful to focus attention on the role that both individual agency and structural factors play in determining poverty and inequality.

Project Number: 40199
Research Theme(s): Social wellbeing
Project Leader: Arthurson, Kathy
Funding Year: 2003
Research Centre: Southern

Published research reports

Download now Research and Policy Bulletin: Issue 037: Social exclusion and housing
91 KB PDF Document

Download now Final Report: No. 051: Social exclusion and housing
541 KB PDF Document


The project involved a review of the international literature on the topic of social exclusion and housing. The concept of social exclusion has emerged as an important issue in Australian housing and urban policy debates. In particular, the notion of social exclusion has entered debates around the future of Australian public housing estates that are characterised by problematic housing, poverty, concentrations of residents with low incomes, high unemployment, high crime rates and, in some cases, incidents of escalating violence. Despite this focus on public housing estates, it is recognised that social exclusion also exists in the low-income private rental sector (Randolph and Judd 1999; Hulse and Burke 2000). Hence, it is apparent that the topic of social exclusion and housing is at the policy horizon and will shape future research agendas in housing and urban policy in Australia. Whilst the concept of social exclusion is beginning to emerge in Australian housing policy, it is well established in the UK and other parts of Europe, with a substantial analytical and critical literature available to draw upon. Social exclusion is the central concept in the British, Blair Labour Government's urban and social policy-making. However, whether or not social exclusion provides an effective lens through which to view issues of housing and inequality is contested. The Social Exclusion and Housing project has drawn together, in one document, the findings of a critical examination of the concept of social exclusion and its relevance to Australian housing policy. In this sense, the project provides a stepping-stone, through linking quality research findings and the development of ideas with housing policy development.