Designing for tenant wellbeing : a new approach to Canadian social housing
de Vos, Esther
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Increased focus on non-housing outcomes in the context of social housing in Canada continues. However, that focus remains predicated on existing systems, for the most part designed in the mid to late 1990s. To really support tenants of social housing, we need to create systems that will put the people first. To that end, this dissertation asks the question of how best to design a social housing system in Canada that facilitates and enhances tenant wellbeing. After providing a review of the evolution of social housing policy in Canada, this dissertation then introduces a definition for tenant wellbeing based on the Capability Approach, consisting of six domains: self-determination, health, belonging, security (cultural, tenure, and financial), controlling one’s space, and quality of life. This definition was then used in the analysis of the findings from comparing the systems in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba based on each respective system environment, boundary, system elements and their interconnections, and system function. Those findings were supplemented by interviews with senior executives working in each province. After identifying different parts of the existing systems that facilitate or disempower tenant wellbeing, the dissertation outlines the principles based recommendations to design a new social housing system focused on tenant wellbeing, and how this idea may come to fruition in the current policy and regulatory environment.
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