If we do stop to think on housing, what do we see? What is housing and what does it do? These seem deceptively simple questions, but they are often left unanswered. The reason for this is that a lot of discourse on housing is really a concern for policy-making and the critical evaluation of existing policies. Discourse, is not, properly speaking, on housing at all. It is concerned with provision, distribution and access, but this thinking on housing stops at the front door. It is only concerned with what is actually external to housing.
But for most people, housing already exists and they have access to it. Housing is not then about policy, but about how we can use what is a complex object in a manner that allows us to live well. Housing, for most of us, is about what we do when the front door is firmly shut and we are free from the external world.
These essays explore this idea of housing as an object that exists for use. Housing is pictured as an object that contains activity. These pieces look at what we do with housing once we have it and so provides a necessary underpinning for any understanding of why housing is important.
A further purpose of these pieces is to present different ways of thinking and writing on housing. It is an attempt to show that housing is a suitable topic for philosophical discourse. It is suggested that we can and should seek to establish a philosophy of housing, rather than just relying on the traditional social sciences.
Table of Contents
1. Thinking on housing
2. Housing is
3. Care-full use
5. The consequences of use
6. What housing does
A note on sources
Peter King is a writer and thinker on housing issues. He has consistently used philosophical concepts to draw out the meaning of housing. He is the author of 20 books including A Social Philosophy of Housing (2003), Private Dwelling (2004) and The Principles of Housing (2016). Peter is currently Reader in Social Thought at De Montfort University.