The value of the city. Rent extraction, right to housing and conflicts for the use of urban space


The extent of residential alienation and urban inequalities made visible in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis shed light on processes of politico-economic transformations that altered the role of housing within society since the late 1970s. The focus on (re-)commodification and financialization has become central in the debate and opened up rich interdisciplinary strands of research on the impacts that these processes have on housing. Building on such a fertile academic body of work, it is paramount to contribute to the setting of the public agenda, putting housing issues at the heart of the political debate and policy actions. Introducing this special issue, the paper is firstly asserting the political dimension of housing. Secondly the issue of urban rent extraction is discussed as crucial, especially in the face of the disruptive effects of extensive processes of re-commodification and financialization of housing and land markets in a context of neoliberal urban policies. Thirdly, the Italian case is presented as extremely relevant when it comes to understanding the political dimension of housing, recalling the controversial debates and clashes developed along the 20th century and the current trends of a country confronted with intense processes of financialization of housing, with a significantly accelerated real-estate cycle transforming the residential landscape and resulting in the most intense building cycle of the last half-century. Finally, the dynamics of de-politicisation (and re-politicisation) of housing are recalled with reference to the contributions collected in this special issue.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v14i2p774

Keywords: Housing; Italy; Politicisation/Depoliticisation; Re-Commodification; Right to Housing; Right to the City; Urban rent; Value extraction


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Papers published in this special issue:

Conte V. (2021), “Planning: A Glue for Development Coalitions? State Actors’ Agency and Power Relationships in Urban Development Projects in Milan and Brussels”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 14(2): 829-847.

Esposito E., G. Moini, B. Pizzo (2021), “The Political Economy of a Collusive Urban Regime: Making Sense of Urban Development Projects in Rome”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 14(2): 806-828.

Grazioli M. (2021), “Rethinking Public Housing Through Squatting. The Case of Housing Rights Movements in Rome”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 14(2): 788-805.

Peverini M. (2021), “Grounding Urban Governance on Housing Affordability: A Conceptual Framework for Policy Analysis. Insights from Vienna”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 14(2): 848-869.

Tulumello S., N. Caruso (2021), “[La Casa] non è più sexy in Italia]. The Absent Politicization of Housing in Italy, Insights from Turin”, Partecipazione e conflitto, 14(2): 870-895.

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