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SOCIAL POLIS Social platform on cities and social cohesion Remarks on the EF3 research paper on Housing, Neighborhood and Health Vienna 11 May 2009 Iván.

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Presentation on theme: "SOCIAL POLIS Social platform on cities and social cohesion Remarks on the EF3 research paper on Housing, Neighborhood and Health Vienna 11 May 2009 Iván."— Presentation transcript:

1 SOCIAL POLIS Social platform on cities and social cohesion Remarks on the EF3 research paper on Housing, Neighborhood and Health Vienna 11 May 2009 Iván Tosics Metropolitan Research Institute, Budapest

2 Housing system change in Eastern Europe The socialist housing model was fundamentally different from the market based systems. The changes, first of all the ’give away’ privatization, were very radical and have increased inequalities in the housing system dramatically. Therefore the change into market was even sharper than the changes from welfare regimes to neo-liberal policies: in the post-socialist countries the „historic pendulum” went further out to the other side. Finer distinction has to be made: the resulting free-market systems in CEE countries are similar to SEE and Anglo-Saxon policies, not to those where social-democratic values are still prevalent. The transition from socialist to market based housing policy has subsequent periods, of which the newest one has been left out from the analysis: the change towards a regulated market system, with the strive for more public control over the unregulated market processes. The differentiation between post-socialist countries should not only be based on the extent of privatization but also on the analysis of the new public market-correction mechanisms. No European comparative projects are considered in this chapter although there are many in which post-socialist countries are included (e.g. DEMHOW…)

3 Migration and housing The critical remarks on the lack of UK immigrant and asylum reception provision have to be put into context. The „Japanese metro” will never be as convenient as the „Double-decker” with seats for everyone. The UK economy opened up for immigrant workers while Germany, Austria still not… Housing should not be considered in isolation of other sectors of economy.

4 Homelessness The analysis, based mainly on FEANTSA research, can easily lead to one-sided conclusions. „The fall of the Soviet bloc resulting in escalating unemployment, organizational culture shock and rapid privatization of housing stock throughout Eastern Europe left many people on the margins and revealed the existence of hidden homelessness while causing production of new levels of homelessness.” This reads as socialism was the heaven while capitalism is the hell. Instead of such statements, more differentiated analysis is needed. –Affordable housing was more available in socialist times but not at all for everyone. –Unprecedented rise of homelessness is not true in every CEE country. –A new problem arises with the forced home owners who are getting in trouble with the credit crunch.

5 Neighborhood change and fragmentation The quoted examples in the eastern European analyis (Albania, Moldova) are extreme cases. The „mainstream” case of large countries and large cities is only mentioned by the case of Estonia and only in the relation of suburbanization. Besides that also the processes within the cities (growing segregation of the poor and gentrification of the rich) should be mentioned. There is a good discussion on the limited effects on social inequalities of policies striving for social mix in neighborhoods. However, the opposite case, i.e. allowing the segregation of neighbourhoods, is only mentioned briefly and by the fact of increasing spread of security devices in gentrifying areas. Here the broader consequences (increasing differentiation in physical structures, growing school segregation, etc.) should also be analysed. Such analysis might bring new arguments towards social mix policies. The large research programme UGIS is missing, which analyzed the impact of urban development programs on promoting social inclusion and sustainability, and how these programs have influenced the emerging forms of urban governance.

6 Health and well-being Glasgow research suggests that „… a sense of well- being was highest among people who considered that their own standard of living was broadly the same as their neighbours and lowest where people saw themselves as wealthier than their neighbours.” From this it is quite dubious to arrive to the statement that „… efforts to create ’mixed’ communities through diversified housing tenure … may be counter-productive since perceptions of income and lifestyle/value differences create anxieties which impact negatively on well-being.” This sound very similar to the statement that Roma neighbourhoods should not be improved through desegration policies as „they are happy in the way they live”.

7 Conclusions Good summary of research results and remaining dilemmas. The effects of neighbourhood relations and of social mixing policies are indeed complex. Housing interventions constitute, in any case, important part of efforts to increase social cohesion. Here some reference to European policies were needed, where housing is strikingly low on the agenda. At least the Leipzig Charter should be mentioned, according to which integrated approach (multi-level, horizontal and transversal i.e. multi-policy) and area-based interventions into deprived areas are needed. The importance of housing policies and interventions should be explored and re-invented on the basis of this framework.

8 Remarks about the FP3 research agenda 1. Home ownership and pathways „… housing processes have to be analysed from the perspective of the users, rather than emphasizing systems of housing provision.” YES, but also the legal framework has to be taken into account. EXTENSION: how to fight exclusion, how to ensure integrated improvement, how to manage shrinkage in ownership dominated urban areas. 3. Social relations and urban bonds Connected to that the perspectives of social economy approaches in countries with different types of social housing and welfare systems could be one of the future research topics should be explored.




12 Remarks about the FP3 research agenda: additional/alternative suggestions Conflict between sustainability and affordability: more affordable housing schemes are usually less sustainable and vice versa. The more burden is put on the new development to ensure sustainability of the housing project, the more expensive, i.e. less affordable, the housing units will be for the poor. Affordable housing requires Cheap land which is further away from jobs, public transport… Dilemmas about ‘social mix’ approach in the most deprived areas The value of area-based interventions at all. There are views according to which the problems of the most deprived areas can not be solved within these areas. Instead, horizontal interventions are needed (reduce poverty, increase the level of education, etc.) and also the physical interventions should address larger territories.

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