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The uneven development of Berlin’s housing provision

Uffer, Sabina (2011) The uneven development of Berlin’s housing provision. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Since the end of the 1990s, Berlin’s housing has been described by a transformation from state- to market-led provision, creating more socially and spatially segregated neighbourhoods. The underlying processes exacerbating and reproducing these inequalities have however rarely been addressed. This thesis investigates the question how the transformation of Berlin’s mode of housing provision generated particular forms of social and spatial inequalities. It begins from a state-focused approach to regulation theory and the related debate on the contemporary form of urban governance of the entrepreneurial city. The thesis identifies three transformation processes of Berlin’s mode of housing provision, which are informed by critical realist housing research. First, the privatisation of state-owned housing and the entrance of institutional investors; second, the reformation of the remaining state-owned housing companies and their adaptation to the government’s social and economic demands; and third, the abandonment of supplyside subsidies for the construction and renovation of housing. The analysis of these three processes exposes how regulation, production, and consumption mechanisms play out under particular spatial and temporal circumstances, creating social and spatial inequalities. A particular emphasis lies on the production mechanisms defined through the diverging strategies of different institutional investors and state-owned housing companies. The thesis concludes with a reflection upon the benefits of a critical realist methodology for analysing state restructuring. It is argued that only through the application of a critical realist methodology, the strengths of the regulation theory’s conceptualisation of state transformation can fully be deployed. The thesis therefore goes beyond an affirmation of a more entrepreneurial mode of housing provision in Berlin, deploying a critical realist approach to reveal the underlying mechanisms of the particular mode of housing provision and its uneven consequences.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Sabina Uffer
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Pratt, Andy C.

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