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Blog/Opinion: Housing [is] not a noun but a verb, an activity

By HHI Staff

Consider these thought-provoking gems from the historic doctoral dissertation of HHI Advisory Board Member, Dr. Mariel Wolfson, specifically referencing the work of John F.C. Turner and his book Freedom to Build:


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  • Housing [is] not a noun but a verb, an activity.
  • Housing [is] a “process,” not a “product.” 
  • [Healthy Housing] speaks to its centrality not only to physical health but to psychological and economic health as well.
  • The means of acquiring a house, and the economic consequences of owning it, [are] critical factors in making it a healthy home. Economic and psychological autonomy [are] just as important as indoor air quality, indoor light quality, and other physical factors. 
  • [Know the importance of a] house’s interdependence with its ecosystem rather than [just] its quantified financial cost or value. And in emphasizing the ecological implications of housing choices… [a] “house ethic” [presumes] …and is an extension of the land ethic.
  • In his address on “The Meaning of Housing in America,” geographer John Adams said -- “housing satisfies important emotional wants and forms a key ingredient in psychic welfare.”
  • Housing [should] integrate psychological, economic, and physical well-being. It invites consideration of an approach to healthy housing that looks beyond indoor air quality and other, admittedly essential, physical criteria. It invites us to consider the idea of a “house ethic.”
  • Housing is a social determinant of health.


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(Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Healthy House Institute, LLC.)

Housing [is] not a noun but a verb, an activity:  Created on September 23rd, 2014.  Last Modified on September 29th, 2014


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