Special issue on Nature-Home-Housing: Greening and Commoning of Urban Space

Nature-Home-Housing: Greening and Commoning of Urban Space

31.12.2016 | Petr Gibas | Volume: 3 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 13-16 | 10.13060/23362839.2016.3.2.293
Special issue on Nature-Home-Housing: Greening and Commoning of Urban Space

Urban Green Space in Transition: Historical parks and Soviet heritage in Arkhangelsk, Russia

Urban green space was largely underestimated as a potential for healthy and liveable environments in the state socialist countries. In Soviet Russia, green in the city was part of urban planning but more as a proclamation and mostly implemented in a top-down-manner. During postsocialist transformation, economic restructuring dwarfed the debate on urban nature and greening. Within last years, we see a change here: Urban nature for residential quality and well-being has become more relevant for people, their perceptions and daily practices. The paper analyses the development and main characteristics of urban green spaces in Arkhangelsk, Russia. It discusses the importance of urban nature for human well-being, housing and its contribution to social cohesion and local identity. The paper argues that urban greening is not only a planning tool to create liveable and healthy urban environments but also an important strategy in awareness raising and public involvement activities.
30.12.2016 | Diana Dushkova, Dagmar Haase, Annegret Haase | Volume: 3 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 61-70 | 10.13060/23362839.2016.3.2.300
Special issue on Nature-Home-Housing: Greening and Commoning of Urban Space

“Green” Utopia of the Uralmash: Institutional Effects and Symbolic Meaning

The article examines ideological and institutional role of the “greening” policy in the Soviet urban planning practice of 1920-1930s. Relying on the example of the socialist city of Uralmash in Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) the author traces how the idea of the “green city” affected the development of the urban settlement in terms of its functional mechanism and symbolic transformation. By analyzing the logic of the Uralmash “green” policy and its main narratives he argues that successful improvement of the post-Soviet green zones depends not so much on the new urban city-planning initiatives as on the new symbols and meanings that could give a clear vision of these spaces in the current social and cultural context.
30.12.2016 | Mikhail Ilchenko | Volume: 3 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 52-60 | 10.13060/23362839.2016.3.2.298
Special issue on Nature-Home-Housing: Greening and Commoning of Urban Space

Post-Soviet Housing: “Dacha” Settlements in the Tashkent Region

The post-Soviet period has been witness to a rather difficult process of establishing a new socio-economic and political system in Uzbekistan. The housing question was significantly resolved within the U.S.S.R., while currently the issue of housing has become exacerbated mainly due to the privatisation of the existing housing stock. However, as more young people now enter adulthood, the need for affordable housing once again comes to the forefront in Uzbekistan - namely in Tashkent, a place attracting the youth from all other regions. This research paper focuses on one of the housing solutions in the Tashkent Region: particularly the reconstruction of summer houses, or dachas, into permanent homes for year-round living. The findings are based on several observations from the field and expert interviews with local dacha residents during the summers of 2015 and 2016. The revival of a traditional lifestyle, combined with the modernisation and “Euro-style” of Uzbek houses, represents a case of “indigenous modernities”.
30.12.2016 | Hikoyat Salimova | Volume: 3 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 43-51 | 10.13060/23362839.2016.3.2.297
Special issue on Nature-Home-Housing: Greening and Commoning of Urban Space

Community Gardening As a Means to Changing Urban Inhabitants and Their Space

Community gardening has become a new phenomenon in Slovakia. The evolution of community gardens has been enhanced thanks to the various motivations of the people involved: to grow and share fresh and healthy vegetables in unused urban spaces adjacent to their homes, to build a sense of community and strengthen social relations, to use and cultivate vacant urban space and to contribute to a more sustainable urban environment. This paper discusses the case of community gardening in the medium-sized city of Banská Bystrica in Slovakia. It analyses the growing popularity of community gardening as a result of the emergence of grassroots activism, a sign indicating the development of civil society. Using an ethnographic approach of participant observation and interviews, this paper also looks at community gardening as a non-political collective action addressing broader global issues.
30.12.2016 | Alexandra Bitusikova | Volume: 3 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 33-42 | 10.13060/23362839.2016.3.2.296
Special issue on Nature-Home-Housing: Greening and Commoning of Urban Space

Public Gardening and the Challenges of Neighbourhood Regeneration in Moscow

The popularity of public gardening in post-Soviet countries has arisen quite recently along with the penetration of neoliberal ideas. Public gardening not only visually improves the environment, but it also creates a range of public spaces and “other” places in which urban citizens can come together; eventually it could help to enhance the image of distressed neighbourhoods. Such community initiatives can be divided into sanctioned intervention and unauthorised intervention (“commoning”); unauthorised intervention is when residents are displeased with their surroundings and attempt to improve their environment in their own way. This paper explores the limitations of the practices of commoning as a source of regeneration and compares its cultural dimensions. In this paper I discuss the initial results of an ongoing research project focused on the expectations of people involved in these forms of participation. During this process, the differing typical understandings and perceptions of urban gardening in public and semi-public spaces will be applied.
30.12.2016 | Elena Ivanova | Volume: 3 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 26-32 | 10.13060/23362839.2016.3.2.295
Special issue on Nature-Home-Housing: Greening and Commoning of Urban Space

Participatory Design Processes for the Development of Green Areas of Large-scale Housing: Case Studies from Budapest and Riga

Large housing estates (LHE) found in CEE countries can be seen as a legacy of socialism. Their endurance in these countries is still evident: the future of LHEs is substantially linked to their physical and social characteristics formed during socialism and their decline in status in Hungary and Latvia. The Western European practice of urban rehabilitation and community initiatives has gained more and more ground (sometimes literally) as of late. Our paper examines this phenomenon by analysing examples of converted green space of LHEs in two former socialist cities - a neglected and underused former “traffic park” in Budapest and a typical LHE “courtyard” overgrown and unused in Riga. We focus on the conversational process and the participatory approach of inhabitants and analyse how the redesigning of green areas involving local communities can lead to inhabitants feeling more at home in this housing structure.
30.12.2016 | Adrienne Csizmady, Sandra Treija, Zsuzsanna Fáczányi, Péter István Balogh | Volume: 3 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 17-25 | 10.13060/23362839.2016.3.2.294

Monopolistic Competition and Price Discrimination as a Development Company Strategy in the Primary Housing Market

Firms operating in the property sector use information asymmetry and the local monopoly to differentiate prices of housing units. Selling similar housing to purchasers at various prices allows them to maximize profits. The aim of this article is to analyze empirically the behavior of developers, that shape the market situation. It is necessary to depart from the classical analysis of enterprises that operate in a free and competitive market and produce typical, homogeneous goods. We analyze firms that produce heterogeneous goods and make individual trans-actions with each client. We use the hedonic regression to compare the theoretical and empirical prices per sq. m. of dwelling in the primary market in Warsaw and find significant dispersions. The price discrimination strategy, can be one of the explanations of the observed high, upward elasticity of prices.
29.7.2016 | Jacek £aszek, Krzysztof Olszewski, Joanna Waszczuk | Volume: 3 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 1-12 | 10.13060/23362839.2016.3.2.286

The Apartment with the Best Floor Plan Layout: Architects versus Non-architects

This study examined differences in the floor-plan preferences of architects and laypersons with no architectural education or experience (non-architects). Qualitative data on floor-plan preferences were collected using interviews and an online survey. The floor plans used in the online survey were differentiated primarily by spatial arrangements and included the original layout of a socialist prefab apartment and two contemporary redesigns of the space. The results showed significant differences in the floor-plan preferences of architects and non-architects. Topological properties of layout and a required level of privacy were identified as key factors influencing the between-group differences. Architects and non-architects disagreed in particular over how the public and private zones were defined and arranged in the apartment layouts. From the perspective of architectural practice, understanding non-architects’ preferences can decrease the uncertainty in new product development for an unknown end user and increase residential satisfaction.
13.6.2016 | Irena Boumová, Jana Zdráhalová | Volume: 3 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 30-41 | 10.13060/23362839.2016.3.1.264

The Use of Esping-Andersen and Kemeny’s Welfare and Housing Regimes in Housing Research

This article provides a critique of the use of Esping-Andersen and Kemeny’s typologies of welfare and housing regimes, both of which are often used as starting points for country selections in comparative housing research. We find that it is conceivable that housing systems may reflect the wider welfare system or diverge from it, so it is not possible to “read across” a housing system from Esping-Andersen’s welfare regimes. Moreover, both are dated and require revisiting to establish whether they still reflect reality. Of the two frameworks, Esping-Andersen’s use of the state-market-family triangle is more geographically mobile. Ultimately, housing systems are likely to be judged on the “housing outcomes” that they produce. However, it is suggested that current use of variables within EU-SILC in order to establish “housing outcomes” may be misleading since they do not reflect acceptable standards between countries with greatly differing general living standards and cultural norms.
2.6.2016 | Mark Stephens | Volume: 3 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 19-29 | 10.13060/23362839.2016.3.1.250

Housing as Asset Based Welfare: A Comment

This paper aims to provide a contribution to the debate about housing as asset based welfare begun in this journal in 2015. It suggests that there are strong reasons associated with life cycle earnings and consumption why owner-occupation can be a desirable option, especially for older households. However owner-occupation can be a high risk option for less well-off households while increasing both inequality across income groups and particularly through its impact on inter-generational income and wealth. Even so, housing inequalities, despite all the market failures associated with its provision and allocation, are more an outcome of broader economic fundamentals. Moreover housing policies can improve the lived experience for many. Policies should aim to provide a tenure neutral-taxation environment but also to reduce credit and other constraints to entering owner-occupation. At the same time there must be support for those with inadequate income to achieve acceptable housing standards.
12.5.2016 | Christine Whitehead | Volume: 3 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 10-18 | 10.13060/23362839.2016.3.1.249

Reference Housing Costs for Adequate Dwellings in Ten European Capitals

Providing adequate housing at affordable prices remains a challenge for all welfare states. As part of a pilot project for developing a common methodology for reference budgets in the European Union, reference rents and other housing costs (energy, taxes, maintenance) corresponding to adequate dwellings for four hypothetical households living in nine capital regions of the EU were estimated. In this paper, we discuss the approach that we have taken. Quality criteria for adequate housing were derived from EU indicators of housing deprivation, and the recent UK Housing Standards Review. We used data from the Study of Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) of 2012. Unsurprisingly, the estimates of reference rents vary strongly across capitals, reflecting cross-national differences in the level of the average rent. By contrast, other housing costs, which mainly reflect energy costs, vary much less.
1.1.2016 | Karel Van den Bosch, Tim Goedemé, Nathalie Schuerman, Bérénice Storms | Volume: 3 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 1-9 | 10.13060/23362839.2016.2.1.248
Briefing paper: What are the strengths and weaknesses of pan-European data sets, EU-SILC and EQLS? Specifically, should we trust them when making international housing comparisons?

What Have ECHP and EU-SILC to Contribute to the Comparative Study of Housing?

This paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of pan-European datasets, in particular ECHP and EU-SILC, for research in housing. Although ‘housing’ is a complex topic when studied from a European comparative perspective, I argue that there is no inherent reason why housing should be less amenable to cross-national research than other equally complex topics in comparative social science research, such as research into family change and stability, or the impact of educational systems on social stratification. Given appropriate theory, conceptualisation and contextualisation, along with strong methodologies, meaningful and informative research in housing with ECHP and EU-SILC are possible. There are however a number of limitations, which are mainly related to the fact that both datasets are geared towards the ‘production’ of a ‘system of social indicators’ informing European and national governments. Because of these limitations, ECHP and in particular EU-SILC are less attractive and less useful for academic research then they could potentially be.

21.12.2015 | Caroline Dewilde | Volume: 2 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 19-26 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.3.3.238
Briefing paper: What are the strengths and weaknesses of pan-European data sets, EU-SILC and EQLS? Specifically, should we trust them when making international housing comparisons?

EU-SILC: Should We Make Do with What We Have?

In this Briefing Paper the focus is on the EU-SILC based on the question: What are the strengths and weakness of the pan-European data set EU-SILC which stands for ‘European Union Statistics of Income and Living Conditions’? How useful is this database when making international housing comparisons? The examples in this paper are based on my experience with the EU-SILC and illustrate a number of themes as setting norms for all countries and differences between housing and poverty research. My conclusion is that some of these measures transcend the database evaluation and are concerned with the definition of concepts. As long as there are no ‘better’ data alternatives, we should make do with what we have, but carefully and transparently.
21.12.2015 | Marietta Haffner | Volume: 2 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 27-34 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.3.2.239

Effects of Housing Prices on Income Inequality in Urban China

This paper explored the effects of housing prices on income inequality in China. By using China''s inter-provincial panel data from 1995 to 2011, we find that both housing prices and long-term mortgage rates are associated with the Gini coefficient of the income of urban residents, and the coefficients of correlation are significant positive. Moreover, a series of housing price control policies promulgated by the Chinese government has worsened the situation and has caused considerable interaction effects on long-term mortgage rates since 2003.
21.12.2015 | Chuanyong Zhang, Fang Zhang | Volume: 2 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 11-18 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.3.2.237

Single Access Neighbourhoods and Neighbourhood Cohesion

This paper compares the level of neighbourhood cohesion of two single access neighbourhoods in Calgary, Alberta. The two neighbourhoods had a high sense of neighbourhood cohesion. It is argued that the single access to the neighbourhood has contributed to a high sense of neighbourhood cohesion. One neighbourhood outperformed the other on all three subscales of cohesion due to a stronger sense of seclusion for the neighbourhood. Establishing a sense of identity, a focus, and a clear boundary for a neighbourhood is paramount. Meanwhile, visionary planning for the future of neighbourhood design in terms of ease and flexibility of redevelopment for the open grid model seems to dominate the mindset of municipal planners raising the banner of sustainability.
21.12.2015 | Karim Youssef | Volume: 2 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 1-10 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.3.2.236
Special issue on Housing Asset-Based Welfare

Housing: Asset-Based Welfare or the ‘Engine of Inequality’?

10.7.2015 | Mark Stephens, Martin Lux, Petr Sunega | Volume: 2 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 22-31 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.2.1.173
Special issue on Housing Asset-Based Welfare

The Janus Face of Homeownership-Based Welfare

This paper reflects on the different faces of asset-based welfare from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. It shows that asset-based welfare can be perceived as a lever for welfare state restructuring but also as an instrument for poverty eradication. In most countries, asset-based welfare policies focus on stimulating home-ownership. The general idea is that by becoming a homeowner, households build up equity that can be released for care and pension purposes in old age. However, there are signs that such policies increase inequality between homeowners (depending on the location of the dwelling and/or the period in which it was bought), but particularly so between homeowners and tenants. We therefore contend that home-ownership based welfare policies need a clear and fundamental specification of the role of the government: how to deal with housing market risks and how to prevent politically unacceptable levels of inequality and exclusion?

10.7.2015 | Marja Elsinga, Joris Hoekstra | Volume: 2 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 32-41 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.2.1.174
Special issue on Housing Asset-Based Welfare

Housing Wealth and Asset-Based Welfare as Risk

Housing wealth has been viewed as the main route to asset-based welfare. Accumulated wealth is supposed to provide more in the way of welfare services than just shelter, services such as a net pension and the financing of long-term care. This paper challenges this view and highlights the new risks attached to acquiring and managing housing wealth. Although assets may provide a nest egg in old age, earlier on in the life cycle they leave mortgagers disproportionately exposed to financial and housing market risks and amplify susceptibility to existing social risks such as unemployment or sickness. In contrast to social insurance schemes, assets individualise social risks and leave it to the individual to smooth housing consumption over their life. This lack of risk pooling constitutes a new and hidden social risk that should be considered in the discussion around homeownership.
10.7.2015 | Stephan Köppe | Volume: 2 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 42-51 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.2.1.175
Special issue on Housing Asset-Based Welfare

Homeownership-Based Welfare in Transition

Welfare-state restructuring featuring the use of equity held in owner-occupied housing assets to offset declining public welfare resources and diminishing pension reserves – a form of ‘homeownership-based welfare’ – has become increasingly prominent in many developed economies in recent decades. This paper, focusing on the UK, examines the shifting position of homeownership, arguing that while the private home has become a key component of welfare restructuring, both owner-occupation and housing equity have become more polarised in the last decade, especially across cohorts. A particular concern is whether passive homeownership-based welfare switching strategies have become more active, or even pro-active, strategies to housing property accumulation as a means to compensate for welfare state retrenchment and anticipated pension shortfalls leading up to and since the Global Financial Crisis. We identify the significance of the rapid advance of a ‘generation landlord’ in the recent development of ‘generation rent’.
10.7.2015 | Richard Ronald, Justin Kadi, Chris Lennartz | Volume: 2 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 52-64 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.2.1.176
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