Linking the past to the present: housing history and the sense of home in temporary public rental housing in Sarawak
AffiliationResource Management and Geography
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2017 Dr. Haslina Hashim
The current literature on sense of home argues that security in housing tenure is necessary for people to feel ‘at home’ in their dwelling. In particular, the idea about housing security is framed using the notion of tenure longevity and this definition has been consistently reproduced or implied in recent studies investigating how people experience sense of home. While most studies in this scholarly space are taken from English-speaking, middle-class and high-income contexts, how low income households experience sense of home, particularly in developing countries where housing assistance is scarce, is still under-researched. Similarly, there is limited investigation of how the home is understood in housing situations where tenure longevity is uncertain. This thesis contributes another view to this scholarly space, using the Sarawak context where public housing is intended solely for transitional purposes. The policy specifies six years of maximum tenancy, after which tenants are expected to exit public housing. This policy is not enforced and tenants may stay on after the maximum period. Such ambiguity in the public housing tenure affects tenants’ sense of home. Given this context, my thesis critically examines how current tenants of the Sarawak public housing experience a sense of home. I use the case study methodology to capture tenants’ lived experiences of home in their former housing and public housing, by employing in-depth interviews, observations and survey as data collection methods. Despite the insecure tenure, most tenants regard public housing as their home. The findings demonstrate a strong association between housing history and a sense of home in public housing. The ways in which current tenants experience a sense of homeliness or unhomeliness in the facility are specifically shaped by their lived experiences of home in their former housing. This thesis highlights the significance of trade-offs that vulnerable households have to make in their housing decisions, in order to make a home in public housing. In addition, the critical examination of home in the context of this thesis has offered alternative ways to examine important concepts in the housing literature such as housing security and trade-offs in housing decision making.
Keywordssense of home; housing security/insecurity; housing history; public housing; Sarawak
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