Housing Policies and Sustainable Development
Housing Policies can be defined as one or more interventions in the housing sector, aimed at pursuing goals within or outside the housing sector, usually (but not exclusively) performed by public governments.
Such a wide definition is needed when looking at housing policies from an international perspective. Infact, housing policies could be driven by a wide range of approaches encompassing different political justifications. Clapham (2010: 379) defined housing policies “as government action to achieve housing objectives. These objectives could include the improvement of the quality of the housing stock of dwellings or dealing with homelessness. Another definition of housing policy would be government intervention in the housing field. The difference is that some interventions in the housing field may be directed at objectives outside the field.” “Generally, a housing policy is composed of a number of programmes that address current housing issues, including homelessness, social housing supply or access to housing in the private market” (UN 2018a). Housing policies definition shall be able to reflect a variety of goals and related beneficiaries, including working class and weaker population (Caruso 2017). Property-based or welfare-based housing policies are related to either a neoliberal or a socialist vision of the housing market (Walker 2000). Currently, housing policies in developing countries are mainly aimed at overcoming extremely poor housing conditions (slums and similar forms of low- quality informal settlements), while in developed countries (North America, Europe) more often they tackle the challenge of coping with gentrification and weaker population housing needs (homeless, refugees). Homelessness tends to be a common challenge internationally. Housing policies are key in managing the enormous pressure posed to the Global South and Far East (Asia, Africa, Latin America) by rapid urbanization. Further context- specific goals can be targeted, such as rebalancing racial spatial segregation historically generated by explicit or non-explicit racial housing policies and addressing new housing needs generated by climate change and war refugees.
Housing Policies and Sustainable Development Goals
“Clearly, a lot of what has gone wrong with cities is related in one way or another to housing. The future of urbanization will therefore depend on how countries and cities position housing as a priority in the public debate around sustainable development. From slums to gated communities, from overcrowding to sprawl, from homelessness to the vacant houses, there is much evidence that housing is shaping cities worldwide, regretfully, in many cases, by producing fragmentation and inequalities. The resulting models are leading to social, environmental, and financial costs far beyond what the majority of cities can afford. While the most common problem is the shortage of adequate and affordable housing and the unprecedented proliferation of slums, other important challenges lay in the poor quality and location of the stock usually far from job and livelihood opportunities and lack of accessibility and services. The housing challenge the world is facing today is likely to persist with six out of every ten people expected to reside in urban areas by 2030. Over 90% of this growth will take place in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. It is estimated that the struggle to obtain adequate and affordable housing could affect at least 1.6 billion people globally within a decade.” With these words, Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira (2016), Assistant Secretary-General for UN-HABITAT, clearly condenses in a snapshot the centrality of housing policies worldwide and the role played by housing in addressing the current international urbanization trends. Housing spatial patterns are responsible for facilitating or hindering social relationships; hence, they significantly contribute to generate or solve social inclusion issues, as well as the integration across housing, transport, and services is essential for allowing access to job market, health care, and education. For all these reasons, the contribution of housing policies to pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals is substantial. The UN “Policy paper 10: Housing policies” (UN 2016) clearly stated that “Expansion of housing opportunities will support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Sustainable Development Goal housing target 11.1, but larger Goals of poverty alleviation, health, economic development, social cohesion, gender equality and environmental sustainability. This Policy Unit urges all United Nations Member States to prioritize housing as one of the highest priorities in their government agenda, and to strengthen the institutional capacity of their housing departments to achieve ambitious goals, in collaboration with civil society, donor, and private sector partners.” According to Housing Europe (Lakatos and Dijol 2017), housing policies are directly related to the achievement of the following SDG targets: End poverty in all its forms (Goal 1); Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages (Goal 3); Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern Energy for All (Goal 7); and Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (Goal 11). In facts, housing affordability is key in ensuring people a basic service; therefore, availability of affordable housing is essential in the fight against poverty; housing conditions directly influence well-being and health; non-adequate housing stock is significantly responsible for energy consumption, and therefore energy retrofitting on housing has a positive impact on energy saving globally; safe and resilient communities rest on well-integrated housing. Again in the “Policy paper 10: Housing policies” (UN 2016), the UN urged the global community “to pursue a new strategic approach that includes reforms in five areas: (a) Create an integrated housing framework: embed housing strategies into urban plans and sector policies at both the national and municipal levels (e.g. in services, land use, transportation) to better integrate housing programmes into decision-making; (b) Adopt an inclusive approach: support participatory processes and fair housing policies, and address housing for vulnerable and special needs groups; (c) Expand affordable housing: improve affordability of home ownership; subsidize low-income households to rent or own adequate housing; expand and improve the affordable housing stock; (d) Improve housing conditions: improve habitability (protection from natural elements, hazards and diseases) in urban and rural locations, access to basic services (water, sanitation, lighting, electricity, and garbage disposal), legal right to secure tenure (including compliance with a continuum of land rights, promotion of gender-equal land rights, and prohibition of housing discrimination and forced eviction); (e) Upgrade informal settlements: support neighbourhood-upgrading programmes and incremental housing in informal settlements.” Housing policies play a central role in pursuing the goals set by the New Urban Agenda under Habitat III, provided that housing development is holistically designed within a comprehensive and sustainable framework, meeting a variety of interconnected and intertwined goals in an integrated manner. The document “Housing at the Centre” (UN 2015) encourages a shift of the focus on housing “from simply building houses to a holistic framework for housing development, orchestrated with urban planning practice and placing people and human rights at the forefront of urban sustainable development.” Hence, housing policies need to be broadly approached as strategic drivers for a variety of interconnected policies aimed at ensuring livability of cities, access to services and job places, equity, and inclusive growth.
Human Rights-Based Housing Policies
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN 1948) predicates that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.” Further on setting this cornerstone, the UN followed up on the housing and human rights nexus during the first United Nations Conference on Human Settlements Habitat I, held in 1976 in Vancouver to discuss the consequences of rapid urbanization. Habitat I final declaration states that “Adequate shelter and services are a basic human right which places an obligation on Governments to ensure their attainment by all people.” The Vancouver declaration (UN 1976) establishes the basis for the obligation for national governments to pursue housing policies and is followed by other declarations, such as Agenda 21 (1992), Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements (1996), Habitat Agenda (1996), and Millennium Declaration and Millennium Development Goals (2000), which have helped clarifying various aspects of the right to adequate housing and have reaffirmed States’ commitments to its realization (UN 2016). The Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) (UN 2016) also reaffirmed “the commitment by United Nations Member States to the right to housing, which many national constitutions explicitly recognize and others suggest a general responsibility of the state for ensuring adequate housing and living conditions for all” (e.g., Constitution of Mexico, 1917 (as amended in 1983) Article 4; Constitution of Portugal, 1976 (fourth revision based on Constitutional Law No. 1/97 of 20 September 1997) Article 65; Constitution of the Russian Federation, 1993 Article 40, Constitution of South Africa, 1996 Article 26).
As summarized by Terminski (2011), housing rights protection is supported by the United Nations system: UN General Assembly, UN Economic and Social Council, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Housing Rights Programme (UNHRP), and United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN-Habitat) established in 1976. Moreover, in 2000 the UN Commission on Human Rights established the mandate of a special rapporteur on adequate housing. In February 2018 the special rapporteur presented a report based on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on the right to nondiscrimination in this context (UN 2018a, b). The report clarifies the difference between a housing strategy and housing policy. While “a housing policy is composed of a number of programmes that address current housing issues, including homelessness, social housing supply or access to housing in the private market. Housing programmes are often operated by a single authority, a statutory agency or different levels of government.”, the report clarifies that “Housing strategies operate at a higher level than housing policy and programmes and are based on a vision of structural change that is required over time. A strategy coordinates a wide range of laws, programmes, policies and decisions to address housing needs that, when taken together, create a housing system. The aim of a housing strategy is not only to provide housing, but also to address gaps and inequalities in existing systems. It provides opportunities to review and change policies and programmes to ensure their efficacy and challenges the stigmatization, marginalization and discrimination that lies behind failures of housing systems. A housing strategy must engage a multiplicity of allocated responsibilities and jurisdictions of various levels of government and departments.” The report recognizes the value of a human rights-based housing strategy, thus leading to the definition of “homelessness and inadequate housing” as real and proper “violations of human rights and not merely program failures.” The special rapporteur advocates for the adoption of ten principles, providing each of them with examples from different contexts, which should inform human rights-based housing strategies – and related housing policies – concluding with a list of recommendations for the practical implementation of genuinely human rights-based housing strategies and policies. Further on the commitment of the UN in Habitat III, UN-Habitat perseveres in urging Habitat Agenda partners to develop and implement housing reforms complying with international laws related to the right of housing.
Housing Policies: Historical Overview
Housing policies are deeply interconnected with the history of the working-class movement, the development of planning as a specific disciplinary field, and the concept of housing availability for workers as booster for industrial success, the first two drivers being intertwined and led by a common rationale rooted in the development of the European welfare state. In fact, in the nineteenth century, the ideology underpinned in the Wealth of Nations (Smith 1776), i.e., unlashing the freedom of individuals would have strengthened the economic system and created benefits for the wider society, had already proved to be unrealistic. While the industrial revolution was mainly driven by market forces within a classical liberalism ideology, the dramatic living conditions of the working class in the industrial cities, associated with high risk of spreading diseases – e.g., cholera and TB – due to overcrowding and pollution, grasped attention from philanthropists and enlightened entrepreneurs and urged governments to release policies and regulations to rein, among other things, urban settlements. The first half of the nineteenth century witnessed a growing interest in the question on how to steer society and economic system toward a different direction. An example is the rise of utopian socialism. The nexus between housing and efficient society clearly emerges, for example, in the proposal for a large residential estate for 1200 residents formulated by Owen (1818) and considered as a machine aimed at honing physical efficiency and mental well-being. While the pioneers of urban planning as autonomous discipline were envisioning alternatives to the overcrowded and polluted industrial city – as depicted by Dickens in Coketown – the UK Public Health Acts signposted the European avant-garde of public attempts to reduce the potential causes of deadly diseases whose nexus with dirt had been understood (Ashworth Underwood 1947). The history of housing policies in Europe is part of this wider picture, taking the form first of privately led initiatives and then of public-led initiatives aimed to provide workers with healthier settlements, contributing to the establishment of the European welfare state and as such being politically endorsed by nature.
The nexus between housing policies and wider societal organization was stigmatized by Engels in his articles “Zur Wohnungsfrage,” i.e., “The Housing Question,” published between 1892 and 1873. According to Engels, any sectoral attempt to reform one specific issue would have failed, until proletariat had achieved his revolutionary goals. With respect to the housing issue, he said, “it is not that the solution of the housing question simultaneously solves the social question, but that only by the solution of the social question, that is, by the abolition of the capitalist mode of production, is the solution of the housing question made possible.” Indeed, first examples of actions to improve the living standards of the working class by meeting their housing needs were private initiatives – dated early nineteenth century and paving the way for future public policies. They were rooted in the groundbreaking theories of enlightened entrepreneurs pursuing philanthropic goals and/or understanding the concept that the logistic related to the industrial production went beyond the factory’s border and should be expanded to the industrial settlements as a whole. “To be precise, utopian models from the beginning of nineteenth century should be considered as part of the wider trend of developing residential communities on the edge of industrial estates, pursued by some generous and paternalistic patrons, genuinely willing to improve living conditions of the working class through a new ethic and behavioral approach” (Gravagnuolo 1991: 44). Examples include the Salines Royales, Chaux, built by Ledoux in France (1773–1779), and the Royal Colony of San Leucio, commissioned by King Ferdinando IV Borbone, Caserta, Italy (1786). In the nineteenth century, a widespread trend blossomed in Europe, i.e., the ideal villages, embedding the harmonic marriage between productive and residential functions, starting from the symbolic date 1 January 1800, when Owen inaugurated New Lanark. Examples include industrial villages in the UK, e.g., Saltaire (1853); cités ouvriéres in France, e.g., le Dollfus (1854); Krupp villages in Essen, Germany (1859); le Grand-Hornu (1825) in Belgium; van Marken in the Netherlands (1882); and the small company towns in Italy, e.g., Crespi D’adda (1880).
All these examples evidence three key features of those utopian communities, which can be considered the embryos of modern housing policies: in their origins housing policies were (1) embedded in a larger industrial strategy, (2) enabled by private initiatives led by enlightened entrepreneurs, and (3) not tackled in isolation but considered as part of the wider planning issue. This integrated approach is also present in the forward thinking of Sir Ebenezer Howard, whose thoughts started to be publicized, in facts, as a global societal reform, To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform (1898), and enacted by a privately led charity, having in mind the balanced organization of the city as the cornerstone of a better organization of the society. Reissued in 1902 as Garden City of To-morrow, his theories clearly identified areas for residential, industrial, and agricultural uses interconnected in an organic city pattern.
The history of housing policies in the twentieth century, likewise the history of urban planning, witnessed a progressive specialization of housing policies. These latter, along with industrial, policies, healthcare policies, etc. were progressively tackled with a silo approach. Furthermore, the functionalist approach emerged in the 1920s and, influencing the international context for more than half a century, envisioned housing policies as driven by a standardized vision of human beings and related metrics (the Le Corbusier man with his arm raised), an approach that only after the 1990s started to be challenged by systematic theories and readdressed from different practices around the world.
A comprehensive discussion of the housing policies in nineteenth and twentieth centuries would exceed the scope of this entry; however, some examples will be provided to support the argument of this section, i.e., the history of European urban planning has been the cradle for the rise and development of housing policies as specific disciplinary field, going through three main steps: (1) initial attempts including housing policies within the wider organization of the industrial city, (2) specialization of housing policies into a sectoral approach underpinning a class-separated vision, and (3) recent (theoretical) trends aimed to merge housing policies into a sustainable and holistic vision. Thus, drawing from the European history of planning (Gravagnuolo 1991), the section will first explore the history of housing in Europe, complementing it with a brief mention to the USA experience.
During the nineteenth century, the scale of the housing issue in Europe had become so big that individual paternalistic initiatives were no longer sufficient. Pushed by the working-class movements and by socialist and Christian theories, European states issued laws to support the production of low-cost housing. Examples are the first law for the construction of petit logements in France, 1850, the Common Lodging Houses Act, and the Labouring Classes Lodging Houses Act inspired by Chadwick in the UK. Overall, housing policies in Europe went through different stages, following the timescale of the two wars.
Systematic attempts to meet the housing needs of the working class through public housing policies were pursued by various European national authorities at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of twentieth century. Following the abovementioned French and British examples, other European states emanated specific laws (Belgium 1889, Netherlands 1901, Austria 1902, Italy 1903, Luzzatti Law, which created the “Institutes for People’ Houses”). The Netherlands has been traditionally considered at the forefront of the housing policies. The first housing association in the Netherlands was privately run as part of the company strategy, while at the beginning of the twentieth century, the state stepped in firstly hybrid models and then turned in public-led initiatives, tackling the issue of housing shortage and poor housing condition as part of the public national policies.
In Germany, the 1920s Siedlungen model, embedding the functionalism dictate of the city as an engineered machine aimed at solving societal issue with a deterministic approach (well described by the term “maison Citröhan”), was largely developed in numerous exemplar cases. Wien and Amsterdam can be considered real and proper “model cities” for housing policies. In Austria, the “Rote Wien,” following the 5-year program started in 1923, offered exemplar models of residential superblocks integrated with collective services. In the Netherlands, Berlage, building on and bringing forward the concepts developed by the School of Amsterdam, designed one of the most influential master plans in the history of planning, the Amsterdam South plan, in which residential superblocks were integrated with green, collective open spaces, schools, and other public spaces in exemplar manner. However, it was following the Second World War that a massive public intervention in housing started all around the European continent, the focus was on alleviating severe housing shortages but also repairing areas damaged by the war. In the UK, the New Towns Act (1948) aimed at replicating the rationale of Garden City with a nationally led and systematic approach focused on ensuring a balanced growth and coping with the huge housing demand of industrial cities such as London, Glasgow, Liverpool, etc., paving the way to the most impressive, efficient, and worldwide influential urban strategy of the twentieth century. Followers of this massive legislative intervention were the 1960s Villes Nouvelles, built in the outskirt of Paris, the new towns in Finland (i.e., Espoo, Tapiola), and in Sweden (i.e., Vällingby and Farsta). In this latter case, the national urban planning law dated 1948 widened the expropriation powers thus leading to acquire huge public areas. After the Second World War, housing policies took the shape of large specialized residential estates, often subsidized. For example, a massive public intervention in housing started in 1949 in Italy, the so-called Fanfani Plan, with the approval of the law: “Measures to increase the labour market, by subsiding the construction of housing for the working class” (Trillo 2015). In the 1960s and 1970s, large-scale social housing programs, heavily subsidized and aimed at providing low-cost housing, led to the construction of large low-income class neighborhoods, which tended to become blighted and socially unsustainable ghettos. Social housing and affordable housing provision was debated as one major issue in the housing policies across Europe. In the 1980s, the welfare-oriented housing policies started to be replaced in many European states by new liberalism-inspired policies. In the UK, the Thatcher “Right to Buy” allowing the purchase of social housing at discounted prices initiated the dismantlement of the public housing stock, followed by similar initiatives in other countries (e.g., the 1993 Nicolazzi Law in Italy).
The twentieth-century history of housing policies in the USA followed a trajectory that presents both similarities and differences. In 1949, the US Congress passed the Housing Act declaring the goal of “a decent home in a suitable living environment for every American family.” However, rather than focusing on the provision of housing for vulnerable groups, US housing policies were mainly supporting affluent in form of tax credits for homeownership, taking the form of mortgage interests’ deductions and other tax deductions (Schwartz 2015). From the supply side, the three main forms of intervention include (1) public housing, started in 1937; (2) subsidies for low-income people to rent in the private market, started in the 1970s; and (3) block grants delivered to state and local governments. A famous example of large-scale housing estates for low-income population which ended up in becoming a blighted ghetto is Cabrini Green in Chicago, whose history followed a similar pattern of analogous European counterpart such as the Bijlmer in Amsterdam. A significant uniqueness of the USA case is the public policies of all levels of government that fostered segregation of housing markets, well documented by Rothstein (2017). A turning point in the traditional approach on housing is the HOPE IV program, which started in the 1990s and underpinning New Urbanism principles that fostered mixed-income housing in previous public housing projects. Many of the public housing residents, however, never returned to their previous neighborhood and were given vouchers.
After the 1990s, two main trends on housing policies are emerging. Due to the shortage of public finance, the public direct intervention on subsidized housing has recorded significant reduction in the majority of Western countries. This is creating a huge demand for new models of financing and managing housing policies, capable to leverage private investments (e.g., inclusionary housing) or suitable to enable innovative governance modes and actors (e.g., cooperative models, third sector). At the same time, new theoretical trends on reversing the functionalist specialized approach have also emerged. For example, the New Urbanism movement, started by a group of architects and planners in the USA and codified in a real and proper Charter, advocated for a land use and transit-integrated spatial pattern of development, capable to reduce unsustainable sprawl. This could be achieved by approaching housing, production, and transport within an integrated and holistic vision. The root of this movement is undoubtedly the sustainable urbanism theory, and in facts the declared purpose of the suggested new approach is designing for the end of the sprawl. Mixed use is also meant to support more inclusive communities, thus meeting the holistic goals of sustainable urban development.
The current international context for housing policies presents two quite opposite situations. While some Western countries record – overall – a shrinking demographic trend, facing issues mainly related either to gentrification or lack of affordability of the housing market and issues of replacement of obsolete housing stock, the Global South and Asian megacities are experiencing an unprecedented urbanization rate, putting the housing sector under enormous pressure. In details, “Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, European and North American countries have distinctive land and housing challenges. Compared with those in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, the housing sectors in European and North American countries function relatively well and many European and North American countries have a considerable experience of affordable ‘social’ housing. Urbanization and population growth will remain relatively low in the coming decades placing only moderate demand on new land and housing provision. In most European and North American countries there is no sizeable housing deficit per se and the proportion of informal un-serviced slums is very low. Nevertheless, rising socio-economic inequalities are gentrifying and dividing European and North American cites and making adequate housing increasingly unaffordable for low- and middle-income households. A near unanimous belief in homeownership has drastically reduced rental housing stock which is a vital tenure option for many households. Many households in Eastern Europe live in deteriorated and poorly managed multi-storied apartment blocks and cannot afford the ongoing service and maintenance expenses. Governments in European and North American countries have largely retreated from providing ‘social’ housing in favour of ‘enabling the market’, yet the market has not provided land and housing that is affordable to low-income households” (UN-Habitat 2011a: 9).
Financialization of Housing
A contemporary challenge for housing market stability is the growing process of financialization of the housing market, which has been stigmatized by the UN in the 2018, urging governments “to take measures necessary to curb factors that result in a lack of affordable housing, such as housing speculation and the ‘financialization of housing.’” This phenomenon is intertwined with globalization. In facts, global investment firms are looking for high-quality collateral (HQC) investments. Housing can be classified as an HQC investment, and this explains why housing is grasping growing attention from financial speculators. According to Aalbers (2016), housing risks are increasingly becoming financial risks. Financialization in the housing market reflects the current trend of increasing dominance of not only financial actors but also practices and narratives. It implies a structural change in economic organizations and related actors, firms, states, and households. This coupling of housing to finance explains key elements of the worst financial crisis after the 1929 Great Depression, that is, the end of the US housing bubbles in 2006. A serious threat to the economic stability of families worldwide is posited by such a new trend, due to the lack of predictability of the financial markets. The deleterious impact of the 2006 subprime crisis on the living conditions of a large number of Western families clearly showed the global-local nexus and the weaknesses of a poorly regulated financial market.
Private Actors and Housing Policies
Public finance shrinkage or lack of public funding both in developed countries and in emerging economies seriously challenges the provision of housing for all levels of people. The 1980s shift of housing policies toward a neoliberal approach reflected a general trend to privatization and deregulation that seriously affected developed countries’ public finance, including the public involvement in the provision of housing. Developing countries, on the other hand, suffer for a constant gap of resources to support any kind of social policy. For these reasons, the involvement of private actors in the delivery, implementation, and management of housing policies is gaining growing attention between governments and decision makers worldwide. A recent report by the UN (UN-Habitat 2011b) offered an overview on possible application of PPP not only to traditional infrastructures, such as highways and water sanitation, but also on housing. It is claimed that “in a number of developing countries across Asia and Africa, PPPs are beginning to emerge as the prominent approach to urban housing policy, …. some success has been documented in India and Nigeria.” Obviously, “a distinction should be made with wealthier countries where affordable housing success has been primarily based on a significant level of government subsidy used to keep housing costs as low as possible. Oftentimes, such subsidies are a luxury not afforded to the urban poor in the cash strapped developing world. Nevertheless, to the extent that housing PPP will flourish in poorer countries, their use is dependent, amongst other things, on the economic and political strength and housing tradition of a particular nation.” Private actors can be involved in providing housing through alternative ways, among which inclusionary housing is one of the most important, started in the 1970s in the USA and gradually spread to numerous countries, initially Canada and Europe, and then Australia, India, and South Africa (Calavita and Mallach 2010). It consists of requiring developers to include a percentage of housing whose price is below the market price, within market housing. The advantages in terms not only of housing provision but also of social integration make this instrument a powerful tool to achieve social inclusion. Similar mechanisms based on leveraging the housing market to create housing opportunities beside the market can be identified within planning instruments, such as Transfer of Development Rights (Trillo 2015).
Originated in Northern Europe in the 1960s and then spread across Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, and Japan, cohousing is a new trend on sharing common spaces such as kitchens, laundry, and playrooms for kids, while keeping private the basic functions of the house. Cohousing is gaining growing attention as a real and proper housing strategy aimed as sustainability (McCamant and Durrett 2011). Sharing spaces and resources allows various savings. However, a common aspect of cohousing experiences is the willingness of the participants to creating a community; hence, they usually include opportunity for socialization and are led by residents’ organizations. Co-living is also an emerging trend on housing, which differs from cohousing for being mainly led by private real estate initiatives and are usually coupled by co-working spaces. Those new trends on housing demand would require in the near future a more flexible approach on housing policies, capable to support a variety of living styles and possibly contributing to achieve more sustainable communities.
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