E-Module Chapter 2: Precariousness & Financialization
This chapter includes more details on what precariousness means in practice in different European countries. We link these forms of precariousness with processes on the financial markets by discussing what financialization of housing means, which actors and dynamics are at play, and how this intersects with precariousness. As part of this e-module, we invite you to engage further with the aspects introduced in the textbook.
Key Concepts: This chapter begins with some further background on the meaning of precarious housing, while the latter part deals with the dynamics of the financialization of housing. Have a look at this exercise to review some of the main points.
Reflection Task. Forms of Student Housing: This assignment includes several questions invoking further reflection on different forms of student housing presented in the chapter.
- PusH Podcast - Episode 4. The Process of Financialization and its Implications: In this episode of the PusH Podcast, Ilse van Liempt discusses the financialization of housing with Prof. Manuel B. Aalbers, Professor of Geography at KU Leuven whose research and publications focus on the financialization of housing. In this podcast Prof. Aalbers talks about his take on the processes and actors behind financialization, as well as its implications for different groups and in different contexts.
- External Podcast. Housing Struggles in Berlin (Part I Rent Cap): This episode of the Urban Political Podcast explores the attempt to introduce a rent cap in Berlin, including the difficulties of rising rents, the effects of the rent cap and the implications of the court decision that the Berlin government did not have the right to introduce the rent cap.
- External Podcast. Housing struggles in Berlin (Part II Grassroots Expropriation Activism): This episode of the Urban Political Podcast deals with protests ensuing after the court decision overturning Berlin's rent cap. It discusses the aims and ideas of the campaign 'Deutsche Wohnen & Co enteignen' to reinvent the local housing market, including for example strategies of de-privatization.
- External Podcast. Leona Lynen on the Case for Creating Incomplete Cities: This episode of the Design and the City podcast explores the project of Haus der Statistik as a challenge to the increasing financialization and commercialization of property in Berlin.
External Podcast. A Look at Germany's Growing Housing Shortage: This episode of the Common Ground podcast explores the increasing housing shortage in German Cities. Host Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson discusses with housing activist Thomas McGath of Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen und Co; Barbara Steenbergen, head of the EU Liaison Office of the International Union of Tenants and Konstantin Kholodilin, senior economist at the German Institute for Economic Research.
Analysis. Severe Housing Deprivation: In this assignment you will get acquainted with the online database of the EU-Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) by carrying out some analyses on your own.
- Group Work / Reflection based on the Movie "Push": We invite you to watch the documentary Push of Fredrik Gertten (2019) and reflect on some of the central issues and questions related to precarious housing. The questions we provide can be used either for a writing task or as a basis for a class discussion.
Research Task. Local Housing Actors: In the chapter, we introduced several actors who are relevant housing providers. We now invite you to have a look at your own regional context.
- Research Task. Looking for Housing: In this assignment, you will be asked to look for a new apartment in Amsterdam given different situations. Then you will be asked to reflect on how each situation impacted your options and overall experience.
- Writing Task. Activist Letter on Commercialization Policy: In this chapter, we talked about several issues associated with the increasing commercialization of housing, and the adverse effects of policy changes over the last four decades. In this assignment, you will be asked to recommend a policy that addresses a housing-related problem in your city.
- Writing Task. The Case of the Two Towers (Hungary and UK): Get to know the history of the construction, settlement, and impact of London’s Grenfell Tower and Veszprém’s “Towering Inferno”. As you read through the sources, answer the questions provided (See the Hungarian Version).
Writing Task. Opinion Piece on the Nature of Financialization: Is it possible to distinguish between 'evil' and 'benevolent' financialization, and are there viable alternatives to the finanzialization of housing? Have a look at different methods of providing housing and build your own opinion on the nature of financialization.
- Data. EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC): EU-SILC contains data on income, poverty, social exclusion and living conditions.
- Further Reading. Financialization in the Dutch Social Rented Sector: This case study discusses the Dutch social housing context and the dynamics relating to Vestia, the largest housing association in the Netherlands, its investment tactics and issues relating to the financial crisis as well as implications for social renters.
Further Reading. Airbnb and Touristification in the Time of a Pandemic in Venice: This case study discusses a Venetian initiative promoting the rental of touristic accommodation to university students during the pandemic, as well as the future prospect of this initiative beyond the return of tourism.
- Further Reading. Generation Rent: This article explores the growing phenomenon of young people in the UK renting in the private sector for longer periods of their lives because they cannot afford homeownership, and are unable to access social housing.
- Further Reading. The Housing Precarity Index: This paper connects debates within the generation rent literature with more recent work on housing precarity, or the uncertainty arising from the experience of insecure, unaffordable and poor-quality housing.
- Video. Ted Talk 'How Renters are Powerless': A Ted Talk about shifting power back to home renters in NYC. Housing shortages in the US are remarkably similar to European cities, and offer an additional perspective to the global housing financialization trend. The talk is given by American
housing advocate Yale Fox.