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In London, a leading capital of global finance, there is a chronic shortage of affordable housing. The crisis is at levels not seen since World War II. In Beijing, capital of the twenty-first century’s political powerhouse, the displacement of long-standing communities is a daily occurrence. In Mumbai, the biggest health risk faced by the city today has been identified as overcrowded housing, while in São Paulo, football’s 2014 World Cup took place against a backdrop of community unrest and the chronic living conditions of the poor. The private sector, the state and residents themselves are searching for solutions. Whether housing refugees in conflict areas, providing safe water to the households in the developing world or ensuring key workers can live in the cities they support in the West, the question of housing is not only global, but critical.
This book, the third and final in the ‘Housing the Future’ series, is inspired by the need to deal with a critical issue at a critical time – the provision of affordable and decent housing. Whilst the focus of the series has been on design approaches around housing, it will become clear in reading the diverse contributions in this book that design cannot, and perhaps should not, be isolated from the social, economic, political and cultural issues that are inevitably in play when we discuss housing. On that basis, as we will see in this book, the provision of adequate housing can be considered as one of the most important political problems today: an issue played out against a background of disparate policy interventions, resistances and conflicting aspirations; an issue involving architects, planners, developers, sociologists, artists, housing associations, community representatives, policy makers and more.
The book comes out of the Housing –Critical Futures research programme led by the academic non-profit organisation AMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics, Society). It has been produced in collaboration with Swinburne University.
About the Editors: Dr Kirsten Day is a registered architect, lecturer (Interior Architecture, Swinburne University of Technology) and researcher (Centre for Design Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology). She has worked as a researcher in solar technology, and brings those skills to her practice. Dr Graham Cairns has taught at universities in Spain, the UK, the US, Mexico, South Africa and Gambia. He is the author and editor of eight books and has published multiple articles on architecture and its relationship film, advertising, society and politics in scholarly journals.