The security and dignity of a good-quality home is one of the most important and liberating qualities in society. For people experiencing financial or social pressures, many countries offer some form of public or social housing system. While there is no fixed definition for social housing, it often involves the design, construction, and allocation of housing by government authorities, or non-profit organizations.
Just as social housing systems differ throughout the world, so too does the architecture of social housing. A government’s outlook or priorities for social housing provision, which can differ between capacity, cost, sustainability, or urban regeneration, all contribute to unique responses by architects and designers. Below, we identify six systems from countries around the world, complete with architectural examples.