Critical Background: Social Housing and Its Development During the Decades

  • Nadia CarusoEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Geography book series (BRIEFSGEOGRAPHY)


The topic of social housing and its practices is introduced and defined in the first chapter, according to its history in Europe and referring to different approaches and models developed. From the early developments of housing systems (beginning of nineteenth century), the chapter addresses the heyday of social housing in the post war (WWII) period. From the 1970s a general trend of withdrawal of the state from housing policies and social housing is recognized all over Europe. Social housing provision began to decrease and the sector opened up to economic pressures. These dynamics were studied by many scholars: in the 1990s a comparative approach was developed and became the main focus of numerous studies. Several aspects were analysed focusing especially on: housing systems and their relations with welfare regimes, neo-liberal reforms. Three perspectives were identified (juxtapositional, convergence, and divergence) and it is possible to recognize these different approaches in the various researches of a number of scholars. In the last part of the chapter the author focuses on the impacts of the world financial crisis (2007–2008), the characteristics of the current social housing and housing systems, considering particularly the context of Southern Europe and Italy.


Housing policies Social housing Housing systems Europe Homeownership Rental housing Comparative housing studies Financial crisis Welfare state restructuring Neo-liberal turn Southern Europe 


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DIST—Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and PlanningPolitecnico di TorinoTurinItaly

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