212.2 Housing movements in cities of Southern Europe: From 'the right to property' to 'the right to the city'

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 9:12 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Dimitra SIATITSA , Department of Urban and Regional Planning, National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece
The paper is based on PhD research material about the discourse and role of recent housing movements in cities of Southern Europe. It will present a parallel analysis of housing movements that have emerged during the last decade in Italy (Rome and Florence), Spain (Barcelona and Madrid) and Greece (Athens and Thessaloniki).

Given the specificities of the Southern European context (familistic welfare state, weak state housing provision, homeownership as the hegemonic social ideology for access to housing, construction as an economic motor) housing movements have not been very common, with few exceptions, and even less since the mid 70s’.

However the effects of the gradual neoliberalisation of urban space production, multiplied by the resent consecutive crises on national and international level (construction bubble in Spain 2007, Subprime Crisis in US 2008, World financial crisis,  (public dept) economic (and political) crisis in EU since 2010) have brought the housing question again into the fore. Liberalisation of the credit market, property market speculation, escalating housing costs and the erosion of alternative mechanisms for the provision/ production of affordable housing together with the general impoverishment of societies are leading to an emerging housing crisis.

The paper will present recent mobilisations and focus on the discourse produced. Drawing from the theory of urban movements, it will use frames and framing processes as an analytical tool in order to understand the framing of the ‘right to housing’ within the socio-economic, political and cultural context of each country/city. When and how are housing rights consolidated into a concrete demand?  What are the perceptions and ideologies related to housing identified in the specific housing struggles? Themes like the ‘right to property’; the right to just redistribution or the ‘right to the city’ will be traced within the movements’ discourses and actions.