AlShalfan, Sharifa (2013) The right to housing in Kuwait: an urban injustice in a socially just system. Kuwait Programme on Development, Governance and Globalisation in the Gulf States , 28. London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.
Research Paper Abstract (by author):
This work examines the extent to which land-use policies and social housing laws have contributed to the demise of the urbanisation process of a city. It is set in the context of Kuwait – a city-state that has undergone a short but rapid urbanisation history that only started in the 1950’s after the discovery of oil. It traces the methods of housing welfare distribution and questions their role in promoting justice in an environment of increasing housing application backlog, endless sprawl and continually rising housing property values. This paper challenges the current cultural attestations for the lack of fundamental redress of the present state legislation and supports this view through tracing of historical precedents and exploration within on-going changes in urban ways of life in Kuwait. Instead, it identifies the effect of urban policy on society which has induced an entitlement notion framed from a ‘rights’ perspective, through a set of semi-structured interviews conducted with both state officials and local citizens. In an environment of unsustainable wealth distribution methods that not only treat the city as a flat landscape but are also open for abuse, this paper calls for an absolute need for re-evaluation of the current practice that not only raises the quality of life for citizens today, but grants justice for generations to come.
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