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From Social Housing to Subsidized Housing? Accommodating Low-Income Households in Europe

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There were three main models of social housing in post-war Europe: state housing as part of the communist off er; social rented housing as a pillar of the welfare or corporate state; and (limited) support for self-provision and owner-occupation in more rural family based systems. Within the welfare state model there have been two distinct approaches: housing available to all and housing concentrated on accommodating lower income households. As incomes rose, numerical shortages were overcome, public expenditure cuts kicked in and there was political upheaval in many countries, models of social housing also changed –becoming more diverse within countries but increasingly similar across much of Europe. This article first tracks changes over the post-war period to provide a backdrop for discussing how the ways that social sectors have been financed have changed and the relative role of supply and demand side subsidies. It then asks who is now living in social housing to address the question of whether social housing has now become a residual tenure as other more desirable options have become available or whether it still plays a positive and innovative role.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2015

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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