Housing, Social Mobilisations and Urban Governance in Central and Eastern Europe
This project offers a comparative study of urban governance, housing policy and housing protest in Bucharest, Budapest, and Vilnius. 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? This enables a comparison of the relationship between urban governance and housing conflict pattern in the three cities. Data types are background statistics, policy documents, interviews with activists and policy-makers, observations at protest events, and web and campaign material.
The analytical design involves systematically linking the form of urban governance with conflicts in the cities and the mobilization around them, in the field of housing policy, and thereby linking the micro, meso and macro levels. The project aims to critically examine the intersection of urban governance, housing policy and protests in the housing issue in Budapest, Bucharest and Vilnius, as three microcosms at the intersection of local and global demands and forces. We have chosen three cities where serious housing challenges (such as lack of housing, overcrowding, very low levels of public housing for the needy) meet different conditions in terms of city size, social (and ethnic) composition, form of urban governance and housing mobilization. The research questions are: 1) How do municipalities and local authorities handle and manage the housing challenges at the moment? 2) What social conflicts and protests arise in the housing issue and how do they relate to city policy and governance? 3) What role do cross-class citizen mobilizations play in local housing issues? Each case study should: 1) Identify the measures that affect the housing conditions in each city, including their institutional anchoring and the dominant policy notions 2) Identify the most prominent social conflicts around housing 3) Identify the most important actors in housing policy and the struggle (civil society, policy makers, companies) 4) Analyze the activist groups' positions, strategies and interpretive frameworks 5) Analyze the intersection between actors, with a focus on interpretive frameworks, institutional and social positions, alliances and conflict patterns 6) Draw conclusions about the relationship between the form of urban governance and conflict patterns Data types are statistics, policy documents, interviews, observations during protests and in the urban environment, web and campaign material. The project aims to produce socially relevant research results, such as knowledge of how social sustainability can be achieved and the housing situation improved.
Project leader: Kerstin Jacobsson
Project time: 2017-2021