Monday, November 05, 2007

Housing as a new ecomyth

Housing has been an issue that has perplexed both state planners and the free market for decades. Question:
  • why are there no socialist countries without an overwhelming housing shortage?  why does provision of adequate housing defy state intervention, economic control and the imposition of central planning?
  • why does every successful capitalist nation have homeless people?
Not content with being one of those endemic problems of civilization, it appears housing is now emerging as a "new" crisis for some governments, complete with newly found green overtones.
It is interesting how new governments attempt to frame issues, give the appearance of action and court the favour of public opinion in sanctioning their "targets" (I'd say policy goals, but timelines that are 10 and 15 years hence are not legitimate policy goals for any one or two-term government: therefore they are, at best, hypothetical targets for spin consumption and recycling).
Housing is now a green issue.  But will the dogma add any insight and resolution, or merely act to further confuse and obscure inaction, inactivity and mis-management?
Meanwhile, in New Orleans, at least one segment of the population managed to solve their housing crisis.  The key? Action, not talk.  Doing, not demanding.  Empowerment, ownership, personal responsibility and, most of all, community.
The key aspect of any successful, sustainable activity is community.