One-year Postdoc Position in Housing

  • June 23, 2020
  • Claudia Fonseca

Att dela bostad i bostadsojämlikhetens tidevarv (Sharing Housing in Times of Housing Inequality)

Please note that fluency in Swedish is a requirement for this position. The postdoc is expected to be hired during autumn/winter 2020. Last day to apply through the Malmö University portal, September 15th.

Job ID: REK 2020/180

The aim of the project is to investigate housing inequality by analysing why and how, privileged and precarious groups respectively, are sharing housing.

The research agenda set up for the project is based on the following three interrelated work packages and research questions: 

  • Policy. Which political and economic contexts and incentives frame and drive the increase of shared housing?
  • Prevalence. Which national variations exist in the prevalence of shared housing and how is sharing related to socio-economic factors and ethnicity?
  • Practice. How is sharing housing experienced by precarious and privileged groups respectively, what material and social resources are shared, and, what boundaries, agreements and negotiations take place?

Geographically the research is focused on Stockholm and Malmö.  The long-term goal is to avoid exploitative conditions and promote a sustainable and equal sharing of housing and of common resources.

The large number of housing constructed during the 1960s and 70s had as a consequence that Swedes, both families and singletons, for generations could start a home of their own at a very early age. But this is no longer the case. The de- and re-regulation since the 1990s has led to an increase in social and geographical polarisation; a lack of 400 000 -700 000 housing units; an increase in housing wealth by privileged groups; displacement of vulnerable groups due to renoviction and the rise of a housing precariat. Thus, several scholars argue that the Swedish housing sector is developing into a state of ‘housing inequality’ – and not merely a state of lack of affordable housing. A new phenomenon that has evolved in parallel to housing inequality is the practice of sharing housing among the large number of singletons in the metropolitan areas.

In the metropolitan regions of Europe, North America and Australia there are soaring numbers of singletons populations. Due to various reasons, such as decreasing loneliness; enabling creative work or being subjected to precarious labour conditions, shared forms of housing are on the rise among singletons. But sharing housing does not have the same implications for everyone since it is embedded in norms and power relations related to class, ethnicity and gender. In Sweden, recent studies show the challenges of vulnerable youngster forced to flat-share or couch-surf. ‘Share-housing’ for the creative workers [bostadsdelnings-trenden] is on the rise according to the real estate business, and, there is a rise in luxury residential hotels; shared housing with in-house services and shared facilities. Overall, there is an estimated number of ca 500 000 adult, non-family individuals who share housing.

The role of sharing housing that has developed in parallel to polarization is a phenomenon we know little about. What is certain is that more singletons, both rich and poor, will live in the metropolitan regions for longer periods of their lives. This drastically changes how we are housed in cities and what resources we share. While privileged groups have the ability to concentrate assets – such as health clinics, spa, child care, entertainment – within their housing complex, others will be forced to live in over-crowded dwellings in areas likely struck by the withdrawal of the welfare state.

The project evolves around a collaborative network consisting of the major housing research environments in Sweden; an international advisory board composed of housing researchers specialising in shared housing in Britain, France, Netherlands, Japan, Greece and Australia, and, a national reference group with key actors specialised in housing polarisation and sharing housing. The results will be published in international journals, and in addition, in conference papers and presentations at seminars and workshops. Based on co-production through discussions and feedback, a popular science report will be published.

The project is funded by Formas and runs between 2020 and 2022. The research team consists of:

  • Principal investigator Karin Grundström, Associate Professor at Department of Urban Studies and IUR, Malmö University
  • Irene Molina, Professor at the Institute for Housing and Urban Research (IBF), Uppsala University
  • Martin Grander, Researcher at the Department of Urban Studies, Malmö University

References

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Bauman, Zygmunt (2002). The Individualized Society. London: Polity Press.

Baeten, Guy, Sara Westin, Irena Molina & Emil Pull (2016) Pressure and violence: housing renovation and displacement in Sweden, in Environment and Planning A.

BBC World (2020). Talking to your neighbour is mandatory if you live here. People fixing the world. BBC.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p083q0gz

Bergan, T. L., Gorman-Murray A. & E. R. Power (2020): Coliving housing: home cultures of precarity for the new creative class, Social & Cultural Geography, DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2020.1734230

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Grander, Martin (2018). For the benefit of everyone? Explaining the Significance of Swedish Public Housing for Urban Houisng Inquality. Diss. Urban studies, Malmö: Malmö University.

Grundström, Karin & Molina Irene (2016), ‘From Folkhem to lifestyle housing in Sweden: segregation and urban form, 1930s–2010s’, International Journal of Housing Policy, Vol. 16 (3), 316-336.

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