Housing the very poor or the young? Implications of the changing public housing policy in South Korea
This paper discusses the reorganization of the roles of the national and local governments in public housing policy alongside decentralization, with particular reference to South Korea. Focusing on policy changes over the past decade, it reveals that rather than retrenchment amid a push towards greater local autonomy, the national government has diversified and expanded its public housing policy, and is increasingly pursuing a universal approach to public housing. Through case studies of Seoul and Gyeonggi, it also shows how the two local governments have become creative suppliers of public housing that is more customized to the local context. In particular, it highlights the rising emphasis on targeting young people rather than the very poor in public housing policies, a shift that is partly a legacy of Korea's 'productivist' welfare state. The paper closes by discussing the implications of this latest policy trend, especially on local-national policy coordination.
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