SPOL20280 Housing Policies, Neighbourhoods and Homes

Academic Year 2022/2023

Housing not only provides shelter it has many other important social and economic functions. It impacts on the wellbeing of individuals and families and the cohesion of neighbourhoods.

Housing provision is costly for governments and households but it is an important asset, source of tax revenue and of employment. Therefore housing also has important implications for social inequality, economic efficiency and community cohesion.

This module examines the development of housing policy in Ireland over the last century and explores the implications of these policies for social inequality, community cohesion and economic efficiency. It is divided into three parts.

The opening lectures examine the development of government involvement in housing during the first two thirds of the twentieth century. This expanded steadily over this time to the extent that Ireland developed a property based welfare state which contrasted with the welfare models common in the rest of Western Europe.

The module then examines the radical changes to housing policy and also finance for housing from the 1980s as a result of which the Irish housing system began to conform with the norm in other English speaking countries. These changes contributed to a house price boom from the mid 1990s and ended in a bust of unprecedented scale in 2007.

The socio-economic impact of these developments for inequality, poverty and homelessness are examined, together with the their political economy divers and implications.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:
- interpret and critique the key concepts and theories relevant to housing policy and systems of provision-- apply these concepts and theories to the analysis of housing policies in Ireland
- understand the development of housing policy in Ireland since the 1980s
- assess the effectiveness of government responses to the housing market boom and bust Ireland experienced since the mid 1990s, and
- on this basis, assess the implications of housing policy for social inequality, economic efficiency and community cohesion.

Indicative Module Content:

This module will examine the key theories and concepts which are used to analyse systems of housing provision in developed countries. These theories and concepts will then be used to analyse the long term development of the Irish housing system and the way in which this has been shaped by housing policy.

The module will examine the three main housing tenures in Ireland - ie social housing, private rented housing and home owner housing since the start of the 20th Century.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The following approaches to teaching and learning will be employed:

- small group debates and discussions
- examination and critique of specific policy cases
- use of multi-media resources to illustrate policy debates
- lectures. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:


Learning Exclusions:


Learning Recommendations:


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
SPOL30210 - Housing Policies, Markets&Home

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Project: Students will complete a project on a specific housing or homeless policy. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive individual grades on their project.