Israel's Housing Regime: Property, Ownership, and Inequality

Housing   |   rough-sleepers   |   homelessness   |   mortgages   |   policy
Years of Activity: 2011 - 2019

Research Status:

Active
Participants: 

Amna Atamana, Shlomit Benjamin, Motti Gigi, Ariel Hendel, Lee Kahaner, Natan Merom, Yonatan Rokem, Liat Sabine-Ben Shshan, Hila Tzaban, Shlomo Vazana, Dr. Haim Yacobi, Ella Yedaya, Dikla Yizhar

Since the establishment of the state of Israel its governments have encouraged housing ownership. Because of this policy, which was adopted for economic, social, and cultural reasons, the rate of housing ownership in Israel is high compared to that in other countries in the Western world. Nevertheless, the number of people without appropriate housing solutions increases each year. In addition to rough-sleepers, households that receive rent subsidies, and households living in public housing and defined as “lacking housing,” there is a large and growing group of people consisting of those whose homes have been foreclosed, who are on the verge of eviction, or who are living in what are defined as unfit habitations. This situation clearly demonstrates one of the key theoretical issues in housing studies: the tension between use value and the exchange value of housing.
 
This research group aims to shed light on the sociological, economic, and cultural issues related to the housing regime in Israel. Its members are examining this issue in connection with several areas of research, including social stratification, ethnicity, gender, social and urban rights, geography, and public policy, so as to understand the cultural, political, and institutional characteristics that shape housing policy. In addition, the group aims not only to examine the topic through academic research, but also to create a discourse between academic research, government ministries and social organizations that deal with the topic, and people without housing solutions.
 
The group has three main objectives: 1) to trace and analyze the roots and characteristics of the changes in the housing regime in Israel, to understand the history and sociology of housing policy in Israel, and create a theoretical formulation of the connection between housing and inequality; 2) to examine theoretically and critically the institutional distinctions and categorizations of “home ownership” and “homelessness,” and between “home” and “homeless,” and to describe groups that are in intermediate situations on the continuum between “home ownership” and “homelessness”; 3) to establish an interdisciplinary forum of scholars, planning professionals, policy makers, and social activists to create both an academic and a social dialogue.
 
The group is working on a book that summarizes its research activity. Among the topics discussed in it are public housing, urban renewal, housing in the center and in the periphery, housing and inequality between social groups in Israel, the sociology of knowledge about the housing regime in Israel, and the economics of housing.