Summer School 2023

Demolition, Displacement, Regeneration
What is the future of social housing stock?

Open Call
Vienna International Summer School on New Social Housing
18 – 22 September 2023


We are pleased to announce the 6th Vienna International Summer School on New Social Housing. It offers an opportunity for young academics and practitioners in the field of housing to learn and share your knowledge with leading experts from around the world. This year, the focus will be put on the varied and conflicting current approaches to deal with housing stock that seems outdated and in need of investment, renovation – or demolition. The social consequences of such strategies go far.  

The current wave of demolition of old housing stock poses questions around displacement and social sustainability. New-build gentrification (Davidson 2018) comes with displacement of former residents, reinforcing or aggravating residential segregation and jeopardising the right to the city. Social housing providers can be entangled in such developments in various ways and are not necessarily advocating for the rights and concerns of the local residents. Regeneration no longer takes ‘place to the rhythm of bulldozers and riot police batons, but eviction of tenants (…) [giving] free rein to real estate speculation has not stopped’ (Tissot 2015). Urban planning and design strategies of densification through demolition (such as replacement building) have allowed for exclusionary practices and displacement. Long-standing issues and ambitions of urban regeneration such as participation and tenant rights are pressing and topical. Even more so, as ecological concerns demand massive investment in old housing stock and the incorporation of reuse-principles, which is often not economically viable.

To achieve an in-depth exchange on social housing strategies in connection with demolition, displacement and regeneration, we would like to discuss the following questions that take place between these categories:

  • Tradition … Progress: How do notions and ideologies of tradition and progress (in planning and policy) foster destructive approaches such as demolition and replacement strategies of ‘old’ residential areas with ‘new’ social housing? What role does housing demolition play in the context of poverty deconcentration/social mixing? In the light of pressing social-ecological crises, how could the future and transformation of the existing housing stock as not suburban but urban, not detached, but dense, not (only) privately owned, but also publicly funded look like?
  • Neglect … Investment: How do perceptions and narrations of deterioration and neglect manifest in housing regeneration? What role do architecture and art play in (culture-led) regeneration processes of (social) housing when questioning the ‘uncomplicated benefits from urban regeneration’ (Porter/Shaw 2008)? What role do communities play in influencing regeneration processes? In terms of urban heritage and regeneration, what are collateral effects of patrimonialisation?
  • Demolition … Repair: What role do recycling and circular approaches such as urban mining play in terms of demolition and regeneration of housing? How can the dilemma of ecological destruction for the purpose of providing urgently needed housing be understood/framed/resolved especially in the light of social equity?
  • Displacement … Community: How are policies of destruction, eviction and forced displacement e.g. of informal settlements legitimized and what new formations of (organized) shelter or in housing do they bring about? What happens to local communities and social life in such processes in different contexts of urban shrinkage or growth in the Global North / Global South?

We invite to contribute with:

  • Studies on the impact of demolition, displacement and regeneration of (social) housing
  • Case studies on housing regeneration policy and design that facilitate equitable outcomes or on resistance and grassroots movements against demolition/displacement/regeneration
  • Historical studies on housing regeneration policies, long-term effects and future challenges
  • Methodological approaches for research on housing regeneration
  • Reflections on architectural or art strategies to resist or facilitate housing regeneration processes

In a week of exchange and collaboration, we look for responses to these issues and invite contributions from all academic disciplines. The summer school is open for early-stage academics (predoc, postdoc) from all disciplinary contexts as well as for housing activists and representatives of housing and urban policy initiatives who want to contribute to the above-mentioned topics. During the summer school, we will discuss research findings of empirical or design-based contributions. Building on these, we will also work conceptually by example of an urban area in Vienna.

The International Summer School on New Social Housing is the successor of the IBA_ResearchLab Summer Schools which took place between 2018 and 2022, as part of the International Building Exhibition Vienna. The International Building Exhibition with the theme of New Social Housing represented a unique opportunity for the city of Vienna to consolidate its position as an international centre for the scientific research on current developments in the fields of housing and housing development. Taking up the rich experience of five summer schools and building on the renowned faculty of the IBA_ResearchLab, the Research Center for New Social Housing was launched in 2022 to continue the international and institutional networking between different disciplinary research fields of housing research and to foster the transdisciplinary cooperation involving actors of Viennese housing production. The Research Center for New Social Housing is a collaboration of TU Wien and the University of Vienna. The Vienna International Summer School on New Social Housing is carried out in collaboration with the department ‘Social Design – Arts as Urban Innovation’ of the University of Applied Arts, Vienna and is kindly supported by the Municipal Department 50 – Strategic Projects and International Affairs.

The programme of the International Summer School includes the following formats:

  • CLASSROOM SESSIONS: The research projects of the participants will be presented and put up for discussion among peers and members of an international Faculty. The aim is to reflect, refine and deepen one’s own work and research approach with peers and internationally renowned scholars from different disciplines and universities.
  • WORKSHOPS: Various methodological approaches to housing research, such as housing biographies, housing statistics and socio-spatial analysis to participatory methods at the interface between research, architecture, art and community work will be examined in more detail along with the prospects of mixed designs. The workshops will take place in collaboration with the department ‘Social Design – Arts as Urban Innovation’ of the University of Applied Arts, Vienna.
  • FIELD TRIPS: On-site field trips and walks with stakeholders, local actors and practitioners offer insights into the manifestation of the summer school’s topic in Vienna.
  • LECTURES: Public lectures and a panel discussion by and with members of the international faculty on current questions of housing research