Contemporary discussions among politicians, media, and the public about housing tend to focus on housing’s value as a commodity, rather than the potential social value of housing as home. Yet, social scientists argue that it is housing’s value as home, its use value, that is crucial to our everyday lives. This disconnect raises a question of how home relates to housing, particularly as policymakers seek ways to provide adequate housing to growing urban populations, further exacerbated within the context of ongoing housing crises in the global North. Moreover, women face unique barriers when accessing housing, including issues related to structural social and economic inequalities. Drawing on feminist methodologies to examine a case study of non-profit housing for women in Vancouver, Canada, this thesis explores the relationship between gender, care work, the production of home, and tenants’ experiences of their housing. Connecting literatures of home, care work, and a feminist ethic of care, results indicate that tenants’ experiences of home are co-produced through the built environment and organizational practices of these non-profits, and the relationships of care that tenants have with their neighbours. Further, relationships of care in these spaces are multifaceted: staff provide care to tenants, and tenants also provide care to each other. I argue that home in this housing can be a collective experience, centred around tenants’ feelings of care and community for each other, but these experiences are also situated within complex relationships of power that exist throughout the non-profit organizations. I conclude with recommendations to improve the provision of housing for women on low- or fixed-incomes, where the social value of housing, as home, is emphasized.
Copyright is held by the author.
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: McCann, Eugene
Member of collection