HomeHousing: Global Crisis, Seeking justice

HomeHousing: Global Crisis, Seeking justice

Housing: Global Crisis, Seeking justice

Logement : crises partout, justice nulle part !

*  *  *

Published on Tuesday, September 19, 2023


The aim of this international conference orgnanised by the Collectif de recherche et d’action sur l’habitat (CRACH) is to think about the housing crisis in an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective, using a variety of case studies to share knowledge and strategies for mobilization and struggle. Addressed as much to academic circles as to activist groups, this call aims to contribute to a collective reflection on the housing crisis and the capitalist logics that fuel it, resulting in an unprecedented increase in evictions and housing costs.


Call for papers - International Conference Montreal - June 13 to 15, 2024


The aim of this international conference, in English and French (with simultaneous translation), is to think about the housing crisis in an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective, using a variety of case studies to share knowledge and strategies for mobilization and struggle.

Addressed as much to academic circles as to activist groups, this call aims to contribute to a collective reflection on the housing crisis and the capitalist logics that fuel it, resulting in an unprecedented increase in evictions and housing costs. State disengagement, political complacency towards large-scale property developers, financialization and the flattening of the housing market are all interlinked factors fuelling a lasting crisis in access to housing, despite increasingly active citizen struggles on these issues (fight against gentrification, defense of the right to housing, rent strikes, etc.). The displacement of residents, gentrification, touristification and globalized speculation are all symptoms of the increasing commodification of housing, transforming a fundamental human right into a financial asset and source of accumulation among others.

The Collectif de Recherche et d'ACtion sur l'Habitat (CRACH) is behind this scientific and activist event. CRACH's origins lie in a twofold dissatisfaction: firstly, the poor circulation of knowledge between academic and activist circles, and secondly, the inability of public housing policies to really tackle socio-spatial inequalities and the relations of domination that underpin them.

1) Rent and financialization

The accelerating mobility of real estate capital - driven by the financialization and digitalization of the economy, as well as the internationalization of real estate players - and the global evolution of real estate markets bear witness to the emergence of new mechanisms for constituting and capturing real estate rents. Although real estate markets fluctuate in a highly heterogeneous way around the world, the rhetoric and strategies of real estate players and governments in the face of systemic crises in access to housing often converge: supply must be stimulated, mainly by supporting the private sector and new housing starts. However, these approaches often fail to consider the mechanisms of rent production and capture, or even patrimonialization, for which housing has become a strategic vector, both for households and companies. Conversely, for groups involved in defending the right to housing, rent does exist, and is a central theme of their mobilizations and demands. The fact remains, however, that rent is a difficult concept to define, and attempts to theorize on the subject continue to give rise to considerable interpretive debate. Some authors have identified signs of the emergence of a new capitalism dominated by a rentier logic, of which real estate markets are a particularly structuring element. The aim of this section is to examine the role of rents in the contemporary development of cities in both the North and the Global South, and to address the following questions: Are we really witnessing the return of the rentiers? If so, how does this thesis relate to contemporary urban development? Is it a useful concept for understanding evolution and transformation? How can we define or redefine rent in the light of contemporary developments in capitalism and neoliberalism? How can an analysis of rentier dynamics and strategies shed light on the housing crisis and its financialization?

2) Technologies and housing

The growing adoption of information technologies by various players in the residential sector is contributing to further commodification, discrimination in access to housing, circumvention of regulation and the growing social division of urban spaces. Specialized platforms have made it possible to reduce transaction costs, facilitate remote asset management and consolidate information on various markets. This section looks at the impact of this growth in technology on housing rights and real estate markets, addressing issues such as the popularization of short-term rental platforms, the emergence of the PropTech sector, virtual real estate markets and new, highly speculative financial instruments (e.g. virtual currencies, NFT), and the adoption of algorithmic decision-making systems (e.g. loan insurance, tenant screening). This section is also oriented towards proposals for research in which technology can also be placed at the service of emancipation and socio-spatial justice. In recent years, numerous initiatives have emerged to reduce the informational asymmetry between the various players in the housing sector. Whether top-down, bottom-up, institutionalized or militant, these initiatives are part of a vast array of socio-technical practices such as counter-mapping and data activism, and pursue a variety of objectives ranging from advocacy to public policy development. 

3) Discrimination, displacement and resistances.

Because housing is a source of multiple forms of appropriation, this axis aims to consider the intersections between relations of domination (race, class, gender, age) and the right to housing within urban space, in a context where minority groups are increasingly being evicted from their homes and neighborhoods. Planetary demands for the right to the city, tackled on all scales from the domestic to the global, lead us to consider the political and structural dimensions of housing discrimination processes, and to question all forms of oppression that lead to the displacement of the most vulnerable and the loss of home. This observation also allows us to take an interest in the trajectories of commitment and struggle that fuel housing-related resistance. This theme proposes to reflect on the mechanisms of social and racial stratification within the housing market, and on intersectional approaches to the right to the city, in order to approach the right to housing through the prism of the logics of exclusion linked to sexual and gender diversity, or to membership of immigrant, indigenous and/or racialized groups. Papers addressing issues of gentrification/financialization of housing and the stigmatization of neighborhoods as a product of racial capitalism, or forms of marginalization and discrimination in housing for minority populations, immigrants, seniors or women are encouraged.

4) Urban policies: public action and inaction

The supply of housing, while subject to market mechanisms, is largely dependent on public policies and government action (or inaction). Whether we're talking about the development of social housing, rent control or eviction law, but also about platformization or the rentier appropriation of cities, these dynamics largely depend on the measures put in place by public authorities of different levels, which can help to encourage or, on the contrary, curb them. Legislative/regulatory and fiscal instruments, as well as public policy orientations (in favor of the right to housing or the right to property), play an essential role in the transformation of cities. This theme encourages papers on the role of these instruments of public action in different national and local contexts, and on the conditions of production and implementation of measures to regulate housing supply and/or access. Particular attention will be paid to the tensions and bottlenecks that stand in the way of implementing more progressive solutions, and have contributed to the growing socio-spatial inequalities of recent decades.

5) Right to housing?  Justice for the poor, justice for the rich 

Housing is one of the main areas of dispute and conflict in urban societies, between landlords and occupants (non-payment of rent, eviction, insalubrity, rent control, deposits, etc.). A number of recent studies have taken up the concerns raised by the work of legal scholars and sociologists in the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on procedural inequities, access to justice, and contradictions of class, gender and race. However, they are limited to issues affecting "justice for the poor" - the most vulnerable social classes - and neglect to address issues related to landlords' legal practices. This section aims to examine the "rich man's" legal market, in relation to disputes concerning real estate project financing, zoning, construction, subsidies, expropriations and lobbying activities. It is also intended to link papers questioning rental litigation with those focusing on developer litigation.

6) Methodological innovations: the bricolages of housing studies

Housing is a complex, multi-dimensional subject at the crossroads of several disciplines, mobilizing a variety of research approaches (intervention research, action research, participatory research). It often requires the tinkering of various data collection methods, both quantitative and qualitative (mental and cognitive maps, photographic diaries, commented journeys, databases, Big Data, etc.). What articulations have been tested? What are the levers and challenges of this methodological tinkering? What are the implications for data analysis? How can cartography and experience be linked? What conclusions can be drawn from critical cartographies or photo elicitation?  How can recourse to oral histories and feminist methodologies nourish research approaches to collating and analyzing narratives that differ from institutional discourses, and narrate in other ways the radical transformation of our urban environments? How can urban research help to tackle, avoid or take into account epistemic injustices, the extractivism of experience and the colonization of knowledge? Papers submitted for this theme may be included in another theme, and address the question of methodological innovations in a cross-cutting way.


31/10/2023 Deadline for proposals: Title, name(s) and affiliation(s), theme(s) and 5 keywords + 350-word abstract in French or English to be sent to: crachconf2024@gmail.com

15/12/2023 Feedback from scientific committee to authors 

15/04/2024 Receipt of papers or workshops descriptions by participants (6-8 pages)

Scientific and organizing committee

  • Jolivet Violaine, Université de Montréal (UdeM) - Geography
  • Héon Cliche Catherine, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) - Social Work
  • Bélanger Hélène, UQAM - Urban and tourism studies
  • Gaudreau Louis, UQAM - Social Work
  • Frate Benoît, UQAM - Urban and tourism studies
  • Goyer Renaud, UdeM - Sociology
  • Guadalupe Granero Realini, Universidad de Buenos Aires - Philosophy - Urban planning
  • Edgardo Contreras Nossa, Universidad de Buenos Aires - Urban planning
  • Desage Fabien, University of Lille - Legal, Political and Social Sciences
  • Fauveaud Gabriel, UdeM - Geography - Asian Studies
  • Gallié Martin, UQAM - Legal Sciences
  • Emperador Badimon Montserrat, Université Lyon 2 - INRS - Political Science
  • Baumann Yannick, UdeM - Geography
  • Le Corre Thibault, UdeM - Geography
  • Reiser Chloé, Ecole Normale Supérieure Lyon - Geography
  • Blanchard, Martin, RCLALQ


  • UQAM
    Montreal, Canada

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


  • Tuesday, October 31, 2023


  • gentrification, financiarisation, resistances, droit au logement, droit à la ville,

Reference Urls

Information source

    courriel : crachconf2024 [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

CRACH, « Housing: Global Crisis, Seeking justice », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, https://calenda.org/1096240

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search