The reuse of abandoned public buildings : an answer to housing crises? An investigation on the city of Rome

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The recent financial crisis had a strong impact on housing affordability. To the European Observatory on Homelessness the number of homeless has increased in all countries along the last ten years (Housing Europe, 2015). The current Europe refugee crisis is feeding this population, making proper policies more complex and urgent. Regrettably, the public support for housing in EU has decreased along the last ten years. In metropolitan areas’ peripheries, where there is a default in infrastructures and services, new residential buildings have been built. The Italian capital city well epitomizes this national framework. Between 2012 and 2015 Rome has consumed 160 ha. In this context, squatting has been often the only one solution for people who is waiting for a public house. Along these years, the movements for the housing right supported many people to have a quality dwelling. The research explored the re-use of public abandoned buildings as a possible solution for housing crisis investigating the case of the so called “Casilino 900” camp and of Roma people living there. Can the self-help housing for abandoned public buildings respond to the increasing housing demand? Employing municipal data on state-owned buildings, the paper proposes in its results a housing capacity map. The map shows the empty public properties in the city of Rome and identifies for each building its housing capacity. In the conclusions, considerations from the case study are drawn considering the broader national situation on re-use for housing of abandoned public space.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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