• 10 January 2019

The Centre of Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra, will present the 4th report of the observatory on crises and alternatives

The Report will be based on the new housing issues in Portugal, namely an approach to political economy.

The report to be presented on 22 January 2019 at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon) is based on the results of the research carried out by CES and IGOT researchers, within the framework of the research project FINHABIT - Living in Financial Times: Housing and Space Production in Democratic Portugal, the 4th Report of the Observatory on Crises and Alternatives, entitled "The new housing issue in Portugal" [The new housing issue in Portugal] analyses the recent evolution of housing in Portugal.

Adopting a political economy approach, it places the provision of housing in its historical, political and geographical context, with the explicit objective of examining its more systemic dimensions, as well as what is more specific to other scales, be them sectorial, national, regional or location. From diverse perspectives and disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, it offers a comprehensive portrait of the recent evolution of housing. It emphasizes its imbrication with finance to the point of giving rise to a new housing issue. Engels, which dealt with the most pressing need to fill the shortage of family accommodation to accommodate a growing urban population, which still fitted the national reality of the 1970s and 1980s, to be resolved in the 1990s. The question of housing today refers to the political economy of a sector increasingly dominated by global financial capital in precise territories, intensively exploited and increasingly disconnected from material life as a whole.

In such cases, housing, intrinsically and irremediably linked to a specific territory, is increasingly transformed into a tradable financial asset, allowing agents from any part to extract the associated land rents, not needing to maintain with the territory and its inhabitants any type relational connection. In this process, there are territories that play a decisive role - in general, the metropolises where the opportunities are concentrated and where the population that leaves other spaces flocks, in a dangerous asymmetric centre-periphery logic. In others, where housing provision is consolidated and presently an autonomous household asset, socioeconomic conditions are not one of affluence but of loss. What should be the attitude of public policies? Contribute to radically and irremediably transforming the territory, producing new urban spaces uninhabited while the appropriate housing becomes an asset less and less within the reach of the population? Or give attention to the territory and what it still offers in terms of housing that does not make people miserable lives, developing these spaces and struggling against the amplification of socio-territorial inequalities?