Austerity and (new) limits of segregation in housing policies: the Portuguese case

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This article discusses segregation regimes in relation to housing policies, analysing their effects on residential occupation patterns and their connections with other urban policies in the Portuguese context. First, we focus on the effect of national housing policies from the past two decades, including social housing policies, on residential occupation patterns. Second, we examine the main instruments of housing policy implemented under the austerity programme, looking ahead to the new needs and segregation mechanisms linked to the crisis as well as the responses to the crisis. We show that during the past four decades, housing policies ended up acting as segregation regimes, unable to oppose centrifugal market forces present in the metropolisation process. In central metropolitan areas, as well as in neighbourhoods with social housing, the economic crisis and the austerity programme are magnifying problems regarding access to housing. The adopted policies have direct consequences on spatial segregation, as they contribute to the increase of housing stress in low-income dwellings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-542
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Housing Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Austerity policies
  • Housing policy
  • Portugal
  • Social housing policy
  • Spatial segregation
  • Urban policies


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