Policy Movement in Housing Research: a critical interpretative synthesis

Adriana Mihaela Soaita*, Alex D Marsh, Ken Gibb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
114 Downloads (Pure)


The movement of housing policy across space/time has attracted considerable policy and scholarly interest. But once we accept that policy moves, interesting questions arise. Particularly: what is it that moves? Why do some policies move but others do not? Academic conversations have involved concepts like “policy diffusion”, “policy transfer”, “lesson-drawing”, “fast policy”, “policy mobility” and “policy translation” - but a clear picture of how these concepts have been used to interpret housing policy developments is absent. Through systematic bibliographical searches, we identified 55 ‘housing’ publications to review. Our concern is the theoretical assumptions underlying these studies and their implications for the questions stated above. Through a grounded analysis, we identified ‘dominant knowledge’ as the key element shaping housing policy movement; highlighted five strategic conditions for mobility (summarized as ontological, ideological, institutional, legitimizing devices, and contingency); presented the sporadic engagement with questions of immobility; and synthesized authors’ policy recommendations, particularly their calls for deeper engagement with the people affected by policies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalHousing Studies
Early online date8 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Feb 2021

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for Urban and Public Policy Research


  • policy diffusion
  • policy transfer
  • policy mobility
  • critical interpretative synthesis


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