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Housing, Social Mobilisations and Urban Governance in Central and Eastern Europe

Housing constitutes a critical challenge for cities worldwide, affecting urban life quality. How local authorities are able to meet this challenge determines the social sustainability of urbanisation. The housing situation also reflects existing power structures and resource-allocation mechanisms in cities. This project focuses on under-researched Central and Eastern Europe, offering a comparative study of urban governance, housing policy and housing protest in three capital cities: Bucharest, Budapest, and Vilnius. The analytical design systematically links urban governance to urban conflicts and mobilisation in the field of housing, thus linking micro, meso and macro-social levels of analysis.

The project aims at critically investigating the nexus of urban governance, housing policy and housing protest in Bucharest, Budapest, and Vilnius, as microcosms in the intersection of local and global pressures and forces. In these three cities severe housing challenges, such as severe housing deprivation, high crowding rates and low level of social housing, meet different conditions in terms of city size, social (and ethnic) composition, and urban governance. Research questions are:

1) How do municipal and local authorities presently deal with, and govern, the challenges of housing?

2) What social conflicts and local protests arise in the housing sector, and how do they relate to urban policy and governance on housing?

3) What is the role of multi-class citizen mobilisations in local housing affairs?

Each case-study will:

1) Identify the measures that inform housing conditions in each city, including their institutional arrangements and the dominant housing policy frames

2) Identify the most salient social conflicts related to housing

3) Identify the critical actors in housing policy and struggles (civil society, policy- makers, private companies)

4) Analyze the positions, strategies and framing of activist groups

5) Analyze the interface between actors, with a focus on framing, institutional and social positions, alliance and conflict patterns; 6) draw conclusions on the relationship between urban governance and housing conflict pattern, comparing the three cities. Data types are background statistics, policy documents, interviews with activists and policy-makers, observations at protest events and in the city, and web and campaign material. The project aims to produce findings of high societal relevance, including insights on how social sustainability may be acheived and housing conditions improved.

Project leader: Kerstin Jacobsson
Funding: Formas
Project duration: 2017-2020

Project Members:
Prof. Jolanta Aidukaite, Lithuania
Dr. Ioana Florea, Romania
Dr. Agnes Gagyi, Hungary

Page Manager: Anders Östebo|Last update: 10/3/2016
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