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How can the concept of resilience be applied to housing market problems?
1  Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK Leipzig)


The emergence of urban housing crises and responses by local authorities represent a complex, dynamic process involving various drivers. Among these drivers, demographic change (e.g. population growth or shrinkage) is a slow-burning but prominent catalyst to urban housing markets. As population shifts are hardly predictable, especially at the local level, they can be considered as a shock to a city’s inert housing supply. While the resilience of social-ecological systems seems to be a well-developed approach in research related to urban resilience, community resilience and regional economic resilience, few attempts have been made to apply this approach explicitly to housing market problems. Yet, policy makers already employ the notion of “resilient housing policy”, though its theoretical and empirical essentials remain unclear.

In order to conduct empirical research on the conditions of transforming housing markets and policy from a resilience perspective, we seek to analyze existent resilience frameworks and indicator sets which already include housing aspects or can be linked to this issue. Some useful indicators can be drawn from these frameworks, while others are considered inappropriate for understanding resilience in housing policy from an evolutionary perspective. The structural potential, institutional capabilities as well as the interlacing of civic sector, public sector and private market actors have to be studied thoroughly. Proceeding from these basics, we present a preliminary set of factors that could promote housing market resilience in regard to demographic shocks. The overall aim is to provide a framework for a qualitative case study on housing policy in the city of Leipzig. Leipzig has seen extreme demographic changes over the past 30 years: urban shrinkage and severe housing vacancy, as well as unexpected rapid growth leading to a constricted housing market today.

Besides the theoretic proposal, we can provide first-hand insights from the ongoing empirical study.

Keywords: urban housing market; resilience; policy; demographic change; Leipzig