This glossary contains key terms from the whole text book. 

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Accumulation by dispossession

A Marxist concept referring to neoliberal capitalist policies resulting in the centralization of wealth and power in the hands of a few by dispossessing the public and private entities of their wealth, land or house.

Allotment gardens

Informal use of various plots for permanence habitation, which were not originally designated for such purpose.

Asylum seeker

A person seeking protection from persecution or serious harm in a country other than their country of origin, whereas a final decision on their application for refugee status has not yet been taken.


Government measures to reduce public expenditure, usually adopted in response to government debt or deficits.



Derives from the Latin word civis (citizen); being entitled, as a member of a nation-state, to an exclusive set of rights, privileges, and responsibilities.


The process as a result of which goods and services are exchanged as commodities, i.e., they are sold on the market for money.

Country of origin

The country of citizenship or former habitual residence (stateless persons).

Cultural adequacy

Refers to the way housing is constructed in relation to the cultural identity, livelihoods, and daily routines of the inhabitants.



The increasing reliance of the working poor on consumer credit.

Deprivation-based squatting

A survival or coping strategy that is sometimes called ‘subaltern’ squatting. The squatters involved typically have no agenda and no demands, which differentiates them from protest movements, but at the same time, they often don’t have any other opportunities to cope, which distinguishes them from opportunistic squatting.


A financial product whose value is derived from an underlying entity. For example, mortgages can be packaged into a derivative and this financial product can be sold to investors.


A process that occurs when an individual or a household is forced to move from its residence by conditions that affect the dwelling or its immediate surroundings.

Displacement pressure

The dispossession suffered by poor and working-class families who stay in gentrifying neighbourhoods and whose feelings of home are negatively affected by the transformation of their neighbourhood.

Dublin Regulation

EU law defining EU Member States’ responsibility for asylum claims; according to the main principle of the Regulation, asylum applications should be processed in the first EU Member State in which asylum seekers enter.



A specific form of displacement which refers to the removal of a tenant from rental property by the landlord through legal action or to the removal of persons from premises that were foreclosed by a mortgage.

Exchange value

The value realized when a commodity is sold or rented.

Exclusionary displacement

A form of displacement which occurs when units being vacated by low-income residents are no longer affordable to other low-income households.



In the assessment of housing models, ‘fidelity’ refers to the way a model is reproduced in different settings. If some components of the original model are not present or are significantly modified, this may imply that we are dealing with a different programme and a different approach.

Financial sector

A segment of the economy that offers financial services or manages money for companies, households and the state. Apart from banks, the financial sector comprises insurance companies, investment funds, credit unions, accountancy companies etc.


The growing role of the financial sector as a source of profit.

Formal housing

Includes both social/public housing and the private real estate market either for renting or purchasing.


Geneva Refugee Convention

Intergovernmental treaty of 1951 defining who should be granted refugee status, their rights and states’ obligations in relation to the protection of refugees.


The influx of middle-class people displacing lower-class worker residents in urban neighbourhoods.


An area where, as a consequence of racist forces within the dominant society (1), a particular ethnic or racial group forms (almost) the whole population (2) and where most members of that particular group are housed (3).



Broadly defined in the European Typology of Homelessness and Housing Exclusion (ETHOS) by four categories, including rooflessness, houselessness, insecure housing and inadequate housing.


The act of taking over an abandoned building with the intention of turning it into a home.

Hotspot approach

EU approach to cope with increasing migratory pressure faced by frontline countries at the EU borders, setting up of operational support to these countries to speed up the procedures of migrants’ identification and fingerprinting and thus asylum claims.

Hotspot centres

Facilities for the first reception and identification of refugees and asylum seekers at southern European shores, in Italy and Greece; aimed at short-term stays of no longer than 48 hours, although the actual period is often longer.


Staying in accommodation for the homeless, in women’s shelters, in accommodation for immigrants or due to be released from institutions (e.g., for youngsters without parents, correctional institutions).

Housing career

The sequence of dwellings that a household occupies during its history.

Housing cost overburden rate

The percentage of the population living in households where the total housing costs ('net' of housing allowances) represent more than 40% of disposable income ('net' of housing allowances).

Housing First Approach

Housing model based on the principle that the first support measure for the homeless should be the unconditional provision of housing. Housing is not the goal or end point, rather, it is the first step on the way back to society. This distinguishes Housing First from any programmes applying selection criteria based on personal characteristics or circumstances or making support conditional on commitments and discipline.

Housing ladder

metaphor for dwelling hierarchy. At the bottom of this ladder are accessible dwellings of relatively poor quality, while less accessible dwellings of better quality can be found on the higher rungs of the housing ladder.

Housing Precariat

Those who can no longer afford their houses.

Humanitarian protection

A form of protection for third-country nationals facing danger in their country of origin that is not harmonized within the EU.


Inadequate housing

Living in temporary/non-conventional structures, in unfit housing or in extreme over-crowding.

Informal Economy

All economic transactions in commodities or services that do not observe the formal rules established within a market or an economy.

Informal housing

A category that encompasses all those housing options that fall outside governments’ regulations and laws governing real estate transactions.

Informal Settlement

Any human settlement where housing has been constructed without the requisite legal title for ownership and/or use of the land for residential purposes (based on the Economic Commission for Europe). 

Insecure housing

Receiving longer-term support (due to homelessness) or living in insecure accommodation, including under threat of eviction or under threat of violence.


A combination or overlap of the effects of various forms of discrimination, due to factors such as country of origin, economic status, age, gender, skin colour, and religion.

Irregular/ undocumented migrant

A migrant who enters and/or stays in a country without fulfilling the legal requirements to do so, including based on a lacking or expired residence permit.


Land squatting

The occupation of plots of land to erect makeshift houses.



A person who has resided in a country other than their country of origin for more than twelve months, regardless of the circumstances of migrating (e.g., voluntary/involuntary, regular/irregular).


loan in which the mortgaged property can be taken and sold by the lender if the borrower fails to pay back the loan. Therefore, mortgages are secured loans, because they are backed by a property that can be sold if the borrower defaults (this process is called foreclosure).



The belief that open, competitive and unregulated markets, liberated from all forms of state interference, represent the optimal mechanism for economic development.


Official camps

Settlements built to host refugees and asylum seekers on a temporary basis. They often comprise container housing units and/or tents.

Overcrowding rate

The ratio between the number of rooms and the number of household members, often closely connected to other social exclusion and deprivation indicators, in particular those related to income.


Positive discrimination

The act of favouring societal groups that often experience marginalization.

Precarious housing

Housing can be classified as precarious when people are either living in unsuitable, insecure, unaffordable, or unsafe housing, or not housed at all and living either as street homeless or in hostels, encampments, or temporary accommodation provided by states, charities, and some religious organizations.

Precarity of Place

The threat of being removed from a country

Primitive accumulation

A Marxist concept referring to forms of enclosure and eviction that produce a landless proletariat.

Property guardian

Someone who has entered into an agreement to live in a building or part of a building that would otherwise be empty for the primary purpose of securing and safeguarding the property. Guardians have an insecure and temporary rental contract and can be asked to live in substandard conditions, but they live in the property for a lower cost than elsewhere in the private rented sector.


Real estate

Property in the form of land, houses or other buildings.


Denial of, or discrimination in, providing various services by the public or private sector in certain neighbourhoods. Regarding financialization, inhabitants of redlined neighbourhoods cannot get loans or they are charged more for loans.

Refugee status

Legal status based on the Geneva Refugee Convention of 1951, granting protection to a person who “is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group”.

Regular / documented migrant

A migrant holding a valid residence permit.


Policy intervention to address informality that recognizes the existence of informal settlements and looks for ways to incorporate them into the existing system of zoning, housing, and building regulations.

REIT (real estate investment trust)

A company owning, operating or financing real estate. REITs have lately become large players in providing, or speculating on, housing, thereby affecting housing affordability.

Rejection Identification Model

Refers to the social identity theory and proves that if a powerful majority is prejudiced and discriminatory toward a minority group this will lead to increased identification with the minority group and increased internal group cohesion thereby increasing the distance between the majority and the targeted minority.

Rent gap

The disparity between the potential ground rent level (the rent that might be gleaned under a ‘higher and better’ use) and the actual ground rent capitalized under the present land use.

Resettlement scheme

A mechanism of dispersal with the main intention to build a system whereby responsibility for the reception would be shared among the Member States, and solidarity among them enhanced (based on defined quotas per country).

Residence permit

A document issued by the competent national authority to a non-national stating the right to reside in the concerned state during the period of validity of the permit.


The trend that the social rented sector gradually becomes the exclusive domain of low-income households discussed before.


The process in post-socialist countries involving returning property confiscated by the socialist regime to its original private owners or their descendants. There is no single system of property restitution laws and procedures that can be applied to all countries.

Right to Buy

A 1980s UK policy that was intended to encourage upward social mobility through enabling social housing tenants who had lived in a property for a significant period of time to purchase the property at a reduced cost.

Right to Rent

An act that requires landlords in the UK to check the immigration status of their tenants, and prohibits landlords from offering tenancies to those not living legally in the UK.


An umbrella term referring to different groups such as Roma, Sinti, Kale, Travellers (‘Gens du voyage’), Gypsies, Tsiganes, Romanichels, Boyash/Rudari, Ashkali, Egyptians, Yenish etc. Roma groups vary significantly according to identity-constructing factors such as language, tradition, subsistence strategies, and level of social inclusion in mainstream society.


Living rough or staying in a night shelter.


Schengen Agreement

A treaty signed in June 1985 that abolished border controls between many European countries within the so-called Schengen area.


The assumption that immigrants and ethnic minorities prefer to live in communities where they are surrounded by their kin as opposed to intermixing with the rest of the population.


Any group of dwellings ranging from a single home to larger communities and neighbourhoods.


The illegal practice of settling in / occupying vacant spaces.

Staircase Model

Housing model, in particular applied throughout the Nordic countries and based on a gradual approach, in which homeless service users demonstrate their ability to move from one level of accommodation to another, either as part of the rehabilitation process or by acting in accordance with the targets that have been jointly laid down. The end goal is independent living.

State-led gentrification

A form of gentrification in which state actors use gentrification as a policy tool to create more expensive housing in (low-income) neighbourhoods.

Subsidiary protection

Can be granted to a third-country national or a stateless person who does not qualify for refugee status but is believed to face a real risk of danger if returned.



The transformation of a residential area into a tourism destination.


Unofficial camps

Camps that emerged spontaneously, often with extremely precarious living conditions lacking support structures for residing migrants.

Urban partnership

A contract in which local governments partner with private sector companies or non-profit organizations to undertake urban development issues. A related term are public-private partnerships in which private companies are contracted by public bodies (such as local governments) to provide services or implement infrastructural projects.


The use-value of a commodity is defined by the degree it satisfies the needs of its consumer.

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