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This book offers a European perspective on urban planning and spatial design by outlining housing policies in Southern Europe and their evolution. Through a unique case study on the city of Turin it explores social innovation and the relationship between the urban regeneration process and housing practices. The case study is a useful example in the debate about changing welfare arrangements in Europe and the emerging rhetoric of social innovation in housing. The book encourages debate about the tools needed to address housing needs, exploring current practices. Chapters look at the spatial dimension of housing, the financial mechanisms put in place, the actors involved in the field (public authorities, ethical investors, tertiary sector, inhabitants and locals.) The case study of the metropolitan city of Turin demonstrates complex housing needs and the innovative character of public and private solutions. As this book combines theory and practice, it appeals to both academics and practitioners. It is especially be of interest to spatial planners, geographers and social scientists interested in housing policies, and those interested in the Italian context of the case study.



Chapter 1. Critical Background: Social Housing and Its Development During the Decades

The topic of social housing and its practices is introduced and defined in the first chapter, according to its history in Europe and referring to different approaches and models developed. From the early developments of housing systems (beginning of nineteenth century), the chapter addresses the heyday of social housing in the post war (WWII) period. From the 1970s a general trend of withdrawal of the state from housing policies and social housing is recognized all over Europe. Social housing provision began to decrease and the sector opened up to economic pressures. These dynamics were studied by many scholars: in the 1990s a comparative approach was developed and became the main focus of numerous studies. Several aspects were analysed focusing especially on: housing systems and their relations with welfare regimes, neo-liberal reforms. Three perspectives were identified (juxtapositional, convergence, and divergence) and it is possible to recognize these different approaches in the various researches of a number of scholars. In the last part of the chapter the author focuses on the impacts of the world financial crisis (2007–2008), the characteristics of the current social housing and housing systems, considering particularly the context of Southern Europe and Italy.
Nadia Caruso

Chapter 2. Housing Policies in Italy: From Social Housing to Neo-Liberalism

This chapter summarises the housing issue in Italy, its peculiar characters are explained through the timeline from 1900 to today. Reconstructing the Italian frame shows several phases dependent from the national government’s decisions, often controversial from one political coalition to another. The definition of social housing in Italy changed during the time, from a welfare perspective to the current neo-liberal one. The spatial tools and housing forms also changed according to the policies triggering them. The territorial dimension is also relevant in this definition of the context, especially considering the socio-economic divide between North and South of Italy. Today the Italian social housing definition became “blurry” in a mix of public and private practices, proposing either rental housing or home ownership, using complex financial tools.
Nadia Caruso

Chapter 3. The City of Turin: Case Study of Innovative Housing Policies in the Last Decade

The case study will be presented summarising the city development: Turin has a past of one-company-town linked to the automotive sector and FIAT industry, then in the post-Fordist phase it became an experimental field for several spatial planning strategies (strategic plans, urban regeneration processes, urban development projects changing its urban structure). Housing policies in Turin were developed in the last decade without any form of advertising, there was a temporal agreement in favour of housing as priority among public authorities (Region and City Council), local bank foundations (ethical investors), and tertiary sector. The practices are presented and analysed according to public and private actors promoting them and the different forms they have (plans, projects, etc.). The concept of social innovation is used to analyse the practices showing strengths and weaknesses of the various projects.
Nadia Caruso

Chapter 4. Social Housing and Social Innovation: Remarks for Future Policies and Practices

In the conclusions the author summarises the various elements of the Italian context and of the case study, giving some reflections regarding social housing in Italy and its future perspectives. The austerity policy has strong and immediate effects on the current situation and its evolution. The concept of social innovation is also discussed considering the international debate and its recent applications to welfare innovations (European research projects).
Nadia Caruso
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