Social Housing and Globalisation


Claire Levy-Vroelant
University of Paris 8-Saint-Denis
Paris, France

Christoph Reinprecht
University of Vienna
Institute for Sociology
Vienna, Austria

Sasha Tsenkova
University of Calgary
Faculty of Environmental Design
2500 University Drive NW
T2N 1N4 Calgary, Canada 

Central theme
In this Working Group we intend to develop issues related to globalisation and its consequences on policies and social practices concerning social housing. Societal changes appear to be at the core of transformation taking place in the field of social housing and more broadly, in the field of public actions related to housing. While housing policies are redefining themselves at different scales and under new values and norms, it appears quite clearly that the ‘European model’, somehow outdated, is under redefinition in the different national frames, but also challenged at a more worldwide scale. It is definitely to be revised thanks to broader approaches including other continents’ experiences of ‘local welfare’.

Housing policies are redefined ‘between local and global’, displacing the debate on path dependence and engaging new types of partnerships, conflicts, negotiations. Politicians at different levels develop answers while participating to reconfigurations that involve many stakeholders and actors: State, organisations, institutions, banks, political parties and unions, local authorities, Housing associations, lobbies, inhabitants, etc. In other words, Social housing continues to provide political responses to societal changes. At the same time, the so-called ‘European model’ is interpreted and reconfigured in different parts of the world, since globalisation means creation of centrality and marginality at the same time and at a worldwide scale.

The Working Group should allow discussing further on these political and scientific challenges, hopefully by comparative and collaborative case studies analysis, and projects that bring these different levels together. Social housing epopee should then be observed through actions and representations, at all possible stages and from local to global.

Activities and output in recent years
Some of our activities in 2017 were related to dissemination of research and editorial work on a special issue on the future of social housing for Urban Policy & Research (Taylor & Francis).

ENHR Conference Uppsala
The Working Group held several sessions at the ENHR 2018 conference in Uppsala with ten papers exploring different aspects of social housing provision in ten different countries. In partnership with Working Group Social Housing: Institutions, Organisations and Governance, we organised a joined kick-off session related to a collaborative project Partnerships for Affordable Rental Housing. We would continue to explore these issues in a comparative perspective.

Conference on Partnerships for Affordable Housing, November 15-17, University of Calgary (Canada)
An international conference on Partnerships for Affordable Housing at the University of Calgary created an engaging platform for housing practitioners and researchers focused on new directions for affordable housing through identification of policy instruments, best practices, international experiences and effective dissemination of scientific knowledge. The presentations include contributions from 20 housing researchers and practitioners from Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal as well as established scholars with international reputation from USA, England, The Netherlands and Austria, where partnerships have enjoyed sustained support for implementation.

Future plans and activities
We are planning to expand this collection of research papers and explore growth in the provision of affordable housing through multi-sectoral partnerships. We would be collaborating on joint publications (special journal and/or an edited book) that will allow a systematic comparison of these issues across countries and cities.

 Policy implications