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Title: Negotiating Homes in Transition: Youths’ Experiences in Interim Rental Housing
Authors: Goh Mao Qian
Keywords: Lefebvre, home, homelessness, transitional housing, youth
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: Goh Mao Qian (2015). Negotiating Homes in Transition: Youths’ Experiences in Interim Rental Housing. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Introduced in 2009, the Interim Rental Housing (IRH) Scheme provides rental flats on a temporary and shared basis to low-income families that are unable to obtain or afford conventional HDB flats. With a record of residential conflicts, lacking facilities and limited residential rights, the IRH estate is likely to articulate a version of home different from that of conventional public housing. Deploying Lefebvre’s spatial triad as a conceptual lens, this study seeks to interrogate the various practices and discourses deployed in relation to the scheme, as well as their impacts on youth residents’ experience of home at the Dover IRH estate. Drawing upon a combination of interviews and secondary research, I consider how the production of home(s) within conventional public housing is motivated by the creation of a landscape of affection, whereby citizens are encouraged to invest feelings, emotions and aspirations into their homes and the surrounding community. The hegemonic nature of this landscape facilitates the creation of a converse landscape of abstraction in the IRH, where feelings of homeliness are inhibited as a result of excessive regulation and ‘ahistroicalization of spaces’. Young people’s experiences of home, their representational spaces of home are shaped by the representations of home and spatial practices these narratives entail without being reducible to either – more often that not, youth residents are able to engage in various strategies to resist and subvert the state’s narratives, (re)producing ‘homeliness’ within the Dover IRH. By analyzing their experiences and strategies, this paper offers insights into some of the long-term consequences of the scheme, and calls for greater attention to practices of home-making in social housing policies.
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