Housing standards, environmental sustainability, and social welfare
This chapter illuminates social distributional aspects of non-growth or de-growth in the overall economy in affluent countries like the Nordic ones. It discusses policies necessary to regulate the volume of housing consumption and its distribution between population groups if environmental sustainability and basic welfare for all members of society are to be obtained. The chapter explains some contradictions between such regulative frameworks and the inherent dynamics of capitalism. Residential development and housing-related consumption cause several environmental impacts, comprising construction impacts and operational impacts. The environmental impacts from construction and use of dwellings occur in open systems where a multitude of factors influence the total environmental load as well as the proportion of it accounted for by the housing sector. In contemporary crisis-ridden Europe, many debaters have called for a replacement of prevailing austerity policy with counter-cyclical economic policy.