Housing in a Changing Society

Housing in a Changing Society deals with the question how to achieve sufficient, sustainable and affordable housing by studying housing markets, housing governance, housing management and housing quality. 

A sustainable fit between the demand for and the supply of housing is of major importance for the quality of life of occupants, for the ecological footprint of urban areas and in terms of economic assets. Achieving such a sustainable fit requires innovative and multidisciplinary scientific research.

Societal/scientific quality and relevance of the research

Housing is of crucial importance for the economy, for the ecological footprint and for the wellbeing of households. Since the global financial crisis, the role of the housing market in many countries has changed and housing is no longer one of the key drivers of the economy. On the contrary, investment in housing and the improvement of housing have stagnated. At the same time, international treaties and regulations at European and national levels have set very high CO 2 emission reduction targets also for the housing stock.

There is insecurity in the market: although there is a need to build more housing, there is reluctance to invest in housing. Investors in the market need insight into the future demand, house price developments and the expected rate of return on their investment in order to develop a sustainable portfolio strategy. Housing has a new role in society and adequate knowledge of this new role is lacking. More knowledge of new technologies, housing preferences, house prices, management strategies and policy instruments is necessary to achieve the ambition of a sustainable fit between demand and supply.

Housing, as an area of scientific study and a societal activity, requires productive interactions among several disciplines. Furthermore, because housing is continuously influenced by developments in society and by scientific insights, research in this area has to both anticipate and respond to changing context and knowledge. Therefore, the programme researches this topic from many angles, combining several scientific disciplines.

Perspectives and approaches

The programme uses multidisciplinary approaches to provide new scientific insights through a combination of five perspectives, namely technology, policy sciences, management sciences, economy and sociology, and is a key player at an international level and a frontrunner at a national level. The programme consists of four sub-programmes:

  • Governance: to focus on policies for sufficient, affordable and secure housing, and on the impact of these policies on welfare and economic growth;
  • Organisational Strategies: to develop and evaluate approaches for the management and redevelopment of the housing stock in order to contribute to increasing the socioeconomic and environmental sustainability of housing provision;
  • Market Dynamics: to study the structure and functioning of the housing and house building market by focussing on demand, supply and price, and their interdependence;
  • Quality: to study the physical performances of housing (such as energy efficiency, ecological sustainability and indoor climate) and policy instruments that guarantee or improve those performances.

More about this programme

Want to know more about the scope, research environment, academic reputation, valorisation, and the key journals and articles of this specific research programme?
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More information about this research programme or discuss possibilities for cooperation:

Prof.dr.ir. Marja Elsinga

Prof.dr.ir. Henk Visscher

Key projects
    Building Energy Efficiency for Massive Market Uptake
    Collaboration for housing nearly zero energy renovation
    Demographic Change and Housing Wealth
    Make energy refurbishment processes in the European housing sector transparent and effective
    Creating and Adapting Jobs in Europe in the Context of a Socio-Ecological Transition
    Social Housing Organisations and European Professionals Linked and Acting Together for Testing and Promoting Professionals Coordination in Energy Renovation.
    Creation of a Networked Infrastructure for Innovation on Sustainability in the Home Environment that Enables User-Centered Testing and Development in a Living Laboratories and Testing Houses at 5 Locations.
  • Triple-A 
    Stimulating the Adoption of low- carbon technologies by home-owners through increased Awareness and easy Access
Key books
  • Sustainable urban environments: an ecosystem approach
    Ellen M. van Bueren, Hein van Bohemen, Laure Itard & Henk Visscher (eds.)
  • Demographic Change and Housing Wealth: Homeowners, Pensions and Asset-based Welfare in Europe
    John Doling, Marja Elsinga
  • The Measurement and Analysis of Housing Preferences and Choice
    Sylvia Jansen, Henny Coolen & Roland Goetgeluk (eds.)
  • Energy efficiency in housing management: policies and practice in eleven countries
    Nico Nieboer, Sasha Tsenkova, Vincent Gruis & Anke van Hal (eds.)
  • International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home
    Susan Smith, Marja Elsinga, Ong Seow Eng, Lorna Fox O’Mahony & Susan Wachter (eds.)

more books …