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Micro-geography and public housing tenant wellbeing

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Motu Working Paper 23-08. Wellington (NZ): Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, ,

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This research offers insights into the understanding of how housing tenure and micro-geographic factors influence wellbeing.

By examining the subjective wellbeing of individuals across different forms of housing tenure in Wellington, New Zealand, the study provides empirical evidence that security of tenure and perceptions of house and neighbourhood suitability are crucial determinants of wellbeing. The finding that public housing tenants have higher subjective wellbeing than private tenants challenges common perceptions about public housing and underscores the importance of secure housing tenure. Moreover, the study’s insights into the varying significance of house and neighbourhood characteristics for different population groups enrich the discourse on urban planning and housing policy, suggesting that a one-sise-fits-all approach may not be effective in enhancing wellbeing through housing and neighbourhood design. The emphasis on the legal context of New Zealand, where private renters face insecure tenure, adds an important dimension to the discussion on housing policy and its implications for resident wellbeing. This aspect of the study highlights the potential for policy interventions to improve housing security for private renters and suggests a pathway for similar research in other jurisdictions with different legal frameworks regarding housing tenure.

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