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Housing and Welfare in Southern Europe



Housing and Welfare in Southern Europe

Judith Allen, James Barlow, Jesús Leal, Thomas Maloutas, Liliana Padovani

ISBN: 978-0-470-75750-5 April 2008 Wiley-Blackwell 240 Pages

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The growing literature on comparative European housing policy has played a major part in developing our understanding of the way housing in provided in different countries, and in the way the interaction between the stat, market and civil society is conceptualized. However, much of this analysis is rooted without question in the welfare states of northern Europe – there has been almost no research published in English on the provision of housing in southern Europe. Such research as exists deals with specific feature of housing policy, invariably in a single country. There is probably a better understanding of the housing systems of the former communist countries than those of southern Europe.

The Authors.

Chapter One: Introduction.

Scope of this book.

Some basic concepts.

Structure of the book.


Chapter Two - Are southern housing systems different?.


Tenure patterns in southern Europe.

Countries of homeowners.

One home in two houses: high proportion of secondary homes.

Housing access, family cycles and residential mobility.

Production and promotion of housing.


Chapter Three: Urbanisation and housing systems in southern Europe.


The articulation between urbanisation and industrialisation: the pivotal role of housing.

Demographic patterns, family housing.

Similarity and difference in south European housing processes and urban patterns.

Chapter Four: Welfare systems in southern Europe.


Welfare systems and institutional complexes.

Welfare regimes, welfare states and welfare activities.

Esping-Andersen and welfare regimes.

Welfare regimes: groups of countries or idea-typical construct.

Applying the concept of welfare regimes to housing.

Castles and families of nations.

Setting the south in a European context.

Is there a separate southern welfare system?.

Civil administration, informal markets and familialism.

The southern European welfare system.

Chapter Five: Family and housing.

Family, tradition and culture.

Regional specificity in family and housing structures and practices.

The place of the family in the southern development model and welfare system.

Demographic parameters and trends.

Household cycles and housing.

Family solidarity contextualised or the circumstantial role of the family.

Family strategies for housing: North and south.

Aggressive and defensive housing strategies.

New conditions and changing context for family solidarity.

Conclusion: Family solidarity, housing and social cohesion.

Chapter Six: Public action in housing.


Ideologies, political systems and conceptions of public action in housing.

Distinctive features of public action in housing in southern Europe.

Conclusions: Public action versus state action.

Chapter seven: Conclusions.

The distinctiveness of southern European housing systems.

Theorising housing provision: lessons from southern Europe.

The future of southern housing systems.



"Eagerly awaited because of the particular group of authors, the book was also to break new ground in its selection of countries - Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. In terms of the sheer numbers of researchers and publications, housing studies in Europe has been largely dominated by northern countries. Despite the combined population size and land area of the four southern countries.....they have been relatively neglected as an area of academic housing interest; this book constitutes the first extensive examination of their housing systems, widely accessible to housing researchers beyond their shores.

[The book has] an approach that locates housing in a far wider context than housing policies and population numbers; an effective combination of statistical and other information with theoretically informed analysis; and a coherent and well argued presentation. Overall Judith Allen and her co-authors have made a considerable contribution to the housing studies literature; for anyone interested in comparative housing studies - students and seasoned researchers alike - this is a must-read book." Housing, Theory and Society Vol 21, No 4

"An important contribution to the theoretical literature on international comparative housing research." European Journal of Housing Policy Vol 5 No 1

"An interesting analysis of housing in the context of welfare policy models in southern Europe and a welcome addition to a bibliography which does not increase rapidly." Urban Studies Sept 2005

"Fills a gap in the literature on comparative European housing policy. throws a new light on difficult social and housing policy issues throughout Europe." International Social Security Review, Vol 58/2-3

'The work is a rigorous, comparative and well- documented analysis of housing provision in Southern European countries. The book is extremely useful for researchers, students and policymakers who want to take advantage of some of the best approaches to housing and the welfare state through the perspective of the differences between North and South.' Journal of European Social Policy 2006

"An easy to absorb style and yet it still provides for good robust academic analysis....[the book] provides a wealth of information and, particularly for students, it enables the reader to access a valuable body of research through their analysis of well referenced sociological models." Housing Studies Vol 21 March 2006

'The book opens up new ways of developing research and improving our knowledge in order to contribute to a better design of housing policies across Europe.' Southern European Society and Politics

* offers a rigorous comparative analysis of housing provision in southern European countries
* highlights differences in the relationships between state, market, civil society and household
* draws out lessons from alternative models of housing provision