Housing of Immigrants: Some Psychological Issues
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International migration is a common phenomenon. The housing of an immigrant’s host society can be very different from that of the society of origin. As new immigrants’ experiences of and expectation about housing (e.g., space usage and meaning of home, living arrangements) are often influenced by sociocultural contexts different from that of their host country, they may encounter barriers to seeking and maintaining housing that suits their needs. Over time, immigrants are likely to change their behaviors as they settle in their new society. Immigrants also bring with them the culture of their country of origin, which is often reflected in the design of objects and housing and over time, contributing to the cultural diversity in the urban design of their host country. Previous research on immigrant housing tend to focus on the macro, socio-demographic and policy levels (e.g., ownership rates, core housing needs). Apart from economical factors, sociocultural and psychological factors may have important influences on immigrants’ choice, preference, use, and satisfaction with housing. The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of the research literature on housing of immigrants from several fields, primarily from cross-cultural studies, environment-behaviour studies, and environmental psychology. The focus is on the relationships between such socio-psychological processes as perception of crowding, privacy, social support, self-identity, perceived control, and place attachment and aspects of housing, such as dwelling type, density, living arrangement, home ownership, and proximity to other immigrants with similar cultural background.