The Right to Adequate Housing Around the Globe: Analysis and Evaluation of National Constitutions
Sandeep Agrawal, Ed. 2022. Rights and the city: Problems, progress and practice
25 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2021 Last revised: 8 Dec 2021
Date Written: November 24, 2020
The purpose of this chapter is to delve into housing rights as expressed in national constitutions. We report on all 189 constitutions of UN member states, describing and evaluating them in terms of what they say about the right to housing. As a benchmark for evaluation, we turn to the UN’s main interpretation on adequate housing, known as comment No. 4 to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [ICESCR] of 1966 (UN General Assembly). This document stipulates seven criteria of adequate housing.
The chapter opens with current knowledge about the comparative right to housing, followed by our own contribution. We then expand on each of the seven criteria of adequate housing: legal security of tenure, availability of services and infrastructure, affordability, habitability, accessibility, location, and cultural adequacy. These criteria serve as our benchmarks for evaluating the constitutional right to housing (CRtH) in the wording of all the national constitutions we examine. Next, we report on our empirical research and its method. Many of our findings are counterintuitive and lead to further questions. We conclude with some policy implications.
Keywords: right to housing; human rights; constitutional rights; UN; security of tenure; adequate housing
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