Housing Policy as Critical Challenge for Development and Democracy
Housing policy presents a test for how democratic governance may address social challenges. In developing countries, governments face enormous challenges in fast-growing cities and in rural areas where millions of residents reside in informal and often unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Citizens need shelter to live productive and healthy lives, improving their own quality of life while also contributing to local and national development. In Brazil and elsewhere housing is about more than the provision of shelter. In Brazil, civil society organizations (CSOs) involved in housing policy generally use the term “moradia” to defi ne their claims. Though “moradia” does not have a precise translation in English, it generally refers more to a quality living space than solely a physical structure. 2 The use of “moradia” instead of the more directly translatable term “habitação” (housing) emphasizes the importance of not just having a roof and four walls to call one’s own, but the need for safety, security, and dignity associated with a home.