The challenge of conceptualizing affordable housing: definitions and their underlying agendas in Israel

Rachel Friedman*, Gillad Rosen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


While critical work has focused on revealing underpinning motives of affordable housing strategy, there has been lesser attention given to how factors beyond affordability undergird affordable housing definition. The cultural embeddedness of affordable housing in Israel enables the concept to exist without formal definition, thus, laying bare the agendas and causal narratives and providing an effective laboratory to explore affordable housing’s varied interpretations. This research is based on 60 interviews, analysis of legislation, policy documents and newspaper articles. We use the framework of problem definition and social construction to explain how affordable housing can be manipulated by various institutions and actors to promote interests or agendas that may have little to do with affordability. The findings reveal that Israel’s affordable housing definition, or lack thereof, reflect both various demographic, fiscal, social and political interests and a perpetuation of an ideological shift from the social welfare state to a neoliberal regime.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)565-587
Number of pages23
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 21 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Israeli Ministry of Technology, Science and Space [grant number 3-9443].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Affordable housing
  • Israel
  • neoliberalism
  • problem definition
  • social construction


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