Conference Agenda

RN37_03b: The right to housing 1
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Patricia Pereira, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Location: BS.3.20
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road


Constructing Community in Multi-Generational Co-Housing Projects – Who and What belongs to Whom and When?

Tanja Ehmann, David Scheller, Stefan Thomas

University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, Germany

In our qualitative study on multi-generational cohousing – in self-organized and municipal owned houses – we developed and established the Research Forum as a participatory method of Citizen Social Science, which is dedicated to identifying the discursive modes of residents’ community-building processes. In regular meetings and workshops, communicative spaces have been provided and explored in these different settings by organizing mutual negotiations on important topics concerning individualized and collective needs and conflicts. In the specific context of cohousing projects, belonging could be defined as coming together on a regular basis to have discussions grounded in common ideas and projects and with the goal of strengthening solidarity and support of each other. This kind of belonging gives shape to what we call “communities of solidarity” and is developed in relation to how multi-generationality is perceived and processed. As a result of our analysis we point out that intergenerational conflicts are often negotiated between older singles or couples without children and families o between people who have a history of engagement and living at those places and those who have not lived there before. At the same time, identity politics and the desire for law and order appear as strong claims in the communities. But such positions are challenged when solidaric subjectivities and sociabilities get support from within those communities. Crucial for all those cohousing projects are common meeting spaces, the motivation to participate and the recognition of this participation.

Dwelling Among Diversity. Boundaries and Boundary Work in the Mixed Housing Companies

Jutta Elisabet Juvenius

University of Helsinki, Finland

This paper examines the neighborhood relations among the residents of the mixed housing companies. Mixed housing company means that there are both social housing rental apartments and owner-occupied apartments. Helsinki has dealt with the questions of spatial segregation since the post-war re-building era, and mixed housing companies are one link in the series of interventions. There is a strong consensus that scattering social housing all over the city is one of the most efficient tools for tackling spatial segregation. However, in the public debate there is varying opinions how these apartments should be placed. Finland has a strong cultural hegemony towards owner-occupied housing and municipal rental housing is means-tested. Together these notes have raised a question how different tenure groups would perceive living among each other, and especially how owners tolerate the renters living next door.

To observe these questions I have collected 20 semi-structured interviews from the residents living in the mixed housing companies. In the analysis I am looking what kind of social boundaries the residents draw in their daily lives. I am especially interested in what kind of cultural repertoires residents utilize to justify their arguments. As a surprising result, the biggest conflicts are not between different tenures but there are some other notable front lines like ethnicity and willingness to take care of shared matters of the housing company. To find an explanation for these unexpected results I also look what kind of boundary work residents make to level down these differences between residential groups.

Spatial Exclusion and Informalization: Housing at Allotment Gardens in Hungary

András Vigvári

Hungarian Academy of Science, Hungary

In my presentation I give a brief overview of the most important theoretical points of my anthropological investigation that was based on my field work experience at an eastern suburban neighbourhood in Budapest. The focus of my research was to understand how allotment gardens have been transformed during the financial crises in Hungary and what kind of new (sub)urban functions appeared since the regime change. In this last two decades former socialist allotments have transformed into permanent residential neighbourhoods providing an informal way of housing, which is one of the most crucial spatial consequences of the housing crisis hitting after the 1990s. My research question is in correspondence with the broader theoretical framework of how residential areas in post-socialist urban centres have been shaped in and around the city. In my presentation I will concentrate on housing aspects (such as housing financialization, informal housing and marginalization) because I find issues related to that an appropriate level of analysis in which larger macro structural changes can be linked to the local experience. One of the most important questions from an anthropological point of view is how personalized this experience of informal housing has become. I will emphasize this aspect by showing from the perspective of the people with whom I made my interviews and who were forced to choose informal solutions to cope with the unfavourable conditions.

Key words: informal housing, spatial exclusion, suburbanization of poverty

Between Needs and Deeds: The Role Of Housing Narratives In (Not) Considering Housing Adjustment Behavior Among Flemish Families

Bart Put, Inge Pasteels

PXL University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Belgium

Recent statistics by Eurostat show that Belgium has one of the highest undercrowding rates in the European Union (Eurostat, 2018). At the same time, continued trends in specific family and population dynamics (rising separation and repartnering rates, increase in single household families, ageing society, etc.) put extra stress on the (mis)match between actual housing needs of families on the one hand and the existing housing stock on the other hand. In this paper, we explore the motivational drivers and barriers for present or future housing adjustment behavior among Flemish families, both in the light of existing alternatives on the supply side of the housing market and of concrete Flemish policy plans to reduce further loss of open green space. To that end, individual in-depth interviews were carried out with 70 people between 18 and 80 years old, representing a broad range of family and tenure types, as well as various degrees of urbanisation. We will argue that a number of more or less ingrained ‘housing narratives’ or ‘mental road maps’ play an important role in shaping specific experiences and expectations with regard to one’s own housing futures. More in particular, talking about the prospect of smaller and (partially) shared living spaces not only triggers considerations on the level of the functionality of new ways of housing, but also on the deeper level of what it actually means to be ‘at home’ somewhere.