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Housing and Housing Markets

  • By: Jose R. Diaz-Garayua
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Housing is, in general terms, a tangible structure where people live. It provides protection from the elements and supports basic physical human needs such as a place to eat and sleep. However, the importance of housing is broader than its physical functions. Housing also provides the space for family interaction—the basic building block from which society is formed. For humankind, housing is as basic a need as is water or food.

Housing, examined from a more complex approach, is a commodity with unique attributes and peculiarities. First, it is produced and consumed in the same location, essentially exhibiting spatial fixity—an attribute uncommon in other commodities. Unlike other consumptive goods, traditional housing is fixed in space and cannot be moved to another location. In other words, the ...

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