Housing and Refugees (proposed in 2017)


Silvia Mugnano (main coordinator)
Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca
Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale
Milano, Italy

Jennifer Duyne Barenstein
ETH Wohnforum ETH CASE
Centre for Research on Architecture, Society
Zurich, Switzerland

Eli Støa
Norwegian University of Science & Technology
Department of Architectural Design & Management
Housing and Communities Research Group
Trondheim, Norway

Central themes
Global forced displacement has drastically increased in the last decades. According to UNHCR in 2015 one in every 113 people globally was either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugees. Most European countries are searching for affordable, durable, and socioculturally sensitive housing solutions. The Working Group aims at connecting academic, research and professional experiences and supporting /activating a theoretical and empirical debate on housing for forced migrants and displaced communities in Europe. More specifically, the aims of the Working Groups will be:

  • To discuss and further develop knowledge within the field with emphasis on spatial dimensions of social inclusion and integration;
  • To trigger a debate around the opportunities and the challenges of shifting from an emergency approach to durable and sustainable housing solutions;
  • To discuss the impact and the implications for the hosting communities;
  • To share this knowledge with policymakers, planners and practitioners;
  • To consolidate knowledge about the similarities and differences between and within the European member states in terms of housing strategies and housing solutions (or in terms of housing processes);
  • To explore the multi-levels approaches and the role of different actors in designing and implementing housing responses;
  • To discuss the economic implications in the housing market for those new vulnerable people.

Working plan
Considering the policy relevance of the topic, it is proposed that the Working Group will be managed by a coordination board formed by academics and by an advisory board formed by practitioners, researchers and activists who are operating in the field. In this way the Working Group meetings can be a great opportunity for triggering a dialogue between researchers and practitioners and to influence policies. In addition the interlinkages between this topic and those addressed by other ENHR Working Groups call for the need to explore the possibility of organising joint sessions with others existing ENHR Working Groups.

Proposed activities and outputs

  • Organise annual meetings at the ENHR conference
  • Organise or support national, regional and international conferences and seminars to improve and reinforce the local debate on the issue
  • Foster academic and non-academic publications
  • Facilitate and support Working Group members in the applications to EU research funds or other funds by informing of the new calls
  • Create a stable and active communities on the topic by creating a platform (FB profile, twitter, etc.) which informs on the initiatives and activities in the EU Member States.