HomeRenewals for Architecture and Social Housing?

HomeRenewals for Architecture and Social Housing?

Renewals for Architecture and Social Housing?

Architecture et habitat social

8th thematics folder of the “Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère” (Craup)

VIIIe dossier thématique des « Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère » (Craup)

*  *  *

Published on Tuesday, October 29, 2019


This call for papers concerns social housing, a rapidly changing and significant field for those who practice architecture, landscape architecture and spatial planning. Present throughout Europe at various levels, from 4% in Romania to 32% in the Netherlands, social housing heavily contributes to urban renewal. Through its material and non-material renovation, as well as the evolution of meanings, stakeholders and populations, new dynamics emerge that influence architectural, urban and landscape forms, modes of living and careers in spatial production. This volume seeks to identify and decode these dynamics through three axes: 1) Towards new models; 2) Between heritage, urban renewal and sustainable development; 3) Spatial forms and social arrangements.



Dossier coordinated by Sabrina Bresson, Yankel Fijalkow, Ioana Iosa


This call for papers concerns social housing, a rapidly changing and significant field for those who practice architecture, landscape architecture and spatial planning. Present throughout Europe at various levels, from 4% in Romania to 32% in the Netherlands, social housing heavily contributes to urban renewal. Through its material and non-material renovation, as well as the evolution of meanings, stakeholders and populations, new dynamics emerge that influence architectural, urban and landscape forms, modes of living and careers in spatial production. This volume seeks to identify and decode these dynamics through the following three axes.

1. Towards new models

Social housing has been defined as a fixed-price, publicly-funded housing stock with no direct link to the market, serving to meet the needs of society’s most disadvantaged. This definition, however, is undergoing major changes in Europe, specifically in terms of quantity, quality and contract. How is architecture responding to these economic and political evolutions?

Various countries have profoundly transformed social housing. This can be said of the United Kingdom, which sold part of its social housing stock and where associations manage the sector, or North American countries that have forged partnerships with the private sector. Social housing in Eastern European countries, which was sold to its residents at a low cost just after 1989, cannot be reliably upheld due to the instability of these new owners. Furthermore, European orders to restore nationalized properties have destabilized traditional legal status of social housing. In France, the weakening of its institutional boundaries, especially that belonging to the state or local authorities, puts its production means and the role of actors into question. With the encouragement of private and public partnerships, policies are developing in favor of the sale of low-cost housing, the investment of small owners in “affordable housing” and, in the case of “very social housing”, rental intermediation between organizations and private landlords.

While there exists much pressure to shift the sector’s focus towards the disadvantaged, landlords are considering new services that can be provided to residents as well as ways to renew themselves. What are the effects of these changes on social housing stock, both from the point of view of its design as well as in terms of rehabilitation, management or maintenance? To what extent do these changes affect architectural projects and public spaces, and even careers in architecture and landscape architecture that serve social housing? How do public and private actors envision intervening in the management and/or renovation of traditional social housing stock and what role can spatial professionals play?

Whether it be partnerships with public/private actors or associations, the creation of everything from “affordable” to “adaptive” housing, the re-compositions mentioned above invite us to observe changes in the relationships between contractors and construction managers with local communities, the state, planning agencies, social landlords and residents.

2. Between heritage, urban renewal and sustainable development

Social housing’s architectural renewal is a response to several necessities: to conserve the buildings and their surroundings as well as to renovate them, all while taking into account the challenges of sustainable development and ecological transition.

At the European scale, where public housing is historically dated, an important question arises when considering the remarkable projects of the second half of the twentieth century and their heritage. This includes the construction of the Glorious Thirty, which demonstrates a significant period of architectural and urban experimentation. Analyzing processes of heritage creation will allow us to understand the material and non-material transformations of these experiments, as well as the social, economic and political reasons for these shifts. Although architecture, landscape and heritage could (re)valorize certain impoverished, or even condemned social housing fleets, the most disadvantaged communities in these areas do not seem in a position to harness this potential opportunity. In turn, landlords develop an ambiguous stance, wishing to add value to their stocks, yet at a low cost without too many constraints or changes in the social mission of the concerned neighborhoods.

Seemingly in opposition to the logic of architectural preservation, processes of urban renewal simultaneously impose transformations in these neighborhoods. In France, for example, the demolition/reconstruction introduced by the Agence nationale pour la Rénovation Urbaine, as well as the incapacity of municipalities to propose and concretize alternative projects, have been regularly denounced. Similarly, projects of artialization, aestheticization and, more specifically, artistic accompaniment of demolitions, whose stated objective is often that of organizing rituals of separation and pacification for a given territory, deserve to be questioned.

What explains the success or failure of heritage processes? How do they transform neighborhoods? Which architectural, urban and landscape models should be used to renovate social housing? How do architects and landscape architects create links between urban renewal and heritage? What is accompanied by demolitions or transformations (political instrumentalization of art, museification of memory, tourism, etc.)? What are the effects on the appearance of neighborhoods?

Questions surrounding the conservation and renovation of public housing also target strategies for adapting supply to environmental issues through energy renovation or new construction. If an increasing number of buildings meet environmental quality standards (materials, energy performance) and are encouraged to have better-oriented ecological labels, the structural and long-term effects of these new rules on architecture, urbanism and landscape should be investigated. How do these questions transform the relationship between contractors and construction managers? Between managers and residents? Does encouraging new “eco-responsible” practices (soft traffic, recycling, combating waste) lead to new relationships with inhabited space, a transformation of relationships with social landlords, or even with architects involved in building management, particularly in the framework of thermal renovation programs? What role do environmental norms play in the transformation of social housing architecture?

3. Spatial forms and social arrangements

Lastly, it is essential that we examine the evolution of social housing architecture in light of recent changes in demographics, lifestyles and the renewal of housing design.

A decrease in fertility and an increase in the age at which couples enter into a union, the age of mothers at first birth, separations and life-expectancy are all factors that help raise the proportion of one-person households, estimated at over one-third in Europe  and even more in large cities (51% in Paris, for example). The decline in household size highlights the question of housing supply adaptation, particularly in the context of an ageing population. In addition, housing conditions for the elderly are also in need of rethinking, considering the increased desire for autonomy and alternatives to retirement homes. Such demographic shifts affect the ways in which people live. How does the social sector adapt to this? How does the standardized nuclear family housing, typical of the post-war period, evolve? How do we adapt housing layouts to household diversity? How do architects and contractors respond to the evolving and specific needs of isolated populations (elderly, handicapped, marginalized)? In what way does understanding these needs fuel architectural innovation, or not?

New demands and living practices are brought about through housing access difficulties in metropolitan areas, remote work, break-ups or professional mobility that leads to multi-residential situations, creating more space for cohabitation and shared-spaces. In addition to shared student housing, new models of shared housing are emerging, ranging from participatory housing to a model that has already been taken over by the private sector (the example of co-living). How can social housing draw inspiration from these models to respond to issues of population (intergenerational cohabitation, the struggle against isolation) or management (intermediate spaces, neighbor problems)? What spaces should be shared? What is the impact on housing layoust?

These new uses (cohabitation, shared living) highlight residential communities and their role in designing and managing housing as well as its surroundings, practices that are currently happening in Northern Europe or in the English-speaking world. In France, however, a social context which favors “civic engagement” (especially when it comes to urban policy and urban renewal), social housing associations initiate experiments that favor new relationships with or between residents. These can be developed in social home ownership operations, or in the rental setting in order to involve residents in the design and management of their housing, and sometimes even to promote their social integration. How do these operations transform design processes and professional practices? How does collaboration between residents, contractors and construction managers take place? Do they transform the nature of projects and the spaces produced? Can they be created within the framework of sustainable housing, with increased energy-efficient housing programs and inhabitants that are more mobilized on issues of housing and the environment?

By analyzing the transformations of social housing and the ability of architecture to follow suit, this edition aims to better understand a significant aspect of contemporary urban renewal. An important place will be allocated to international dimensions, as well as variations in perspectives and contexts.

Articles should fit into one of the three axes mentioned above. Their objective is not to formulate a theory, a technical competence or a method of intervention, but to analyze the conjunctures and logic of intervention, as well as to grasp possible contradictions, misunderstandings or divisions between different categories of actors. The proposed articles should analyze the aforementioned institutional, political, social and environmental challenges and their effects on forms of architectural, urban and landscape renewal in the context of social housing. It is essential that institutional and political factors be considered in the definition of new models, in the implementation of heritage projects and in the accompaniment of the population of the social housing stock’s re-composition. Similarly, if the adaptation of housing to ecological issues must take into account demographic and organizational changes in social housing stock, this also influences the dynamics of heritage development, as well as the layout and aesthetics of architecture and landscape practiced today.

Procedure for the transmission of draft articles

Proposals for completes articles will be sent to the Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère’editorial office by e-mail

before 1st March 2020

: secretariat-craup@culture.gouv.fr

For more information, contact Aude Clavel on 06 10 55 11 36

Expected Formats : articles or “research materials”

Articles, whether in French or in English, must not exceed 50,000 characters, including spaces, bibliography and notes.

Research materials may take the following forms:

  • Stakeholder interviews (40,000 characters + 15 figures)
  • Field notebook (15,000 characters +15 figures)
  • Experimentation of working protocols with residents (15,000 characters + 15 figures)

Articles must be accompanied by:

  1. biobibliographical record between 5 to 10 lines (name and first name of the author (s), professional status and/or titles, possible institutional link, research themes, latest publications, e-mail address).
  2. abstracts in French and English.
  3. key words in French and English.

Instructions to authors

1 / General rules

Italic: words in foreign languages in relation to the language used, therefore op. cit., Ibid., cf., a priori, a posteriori, etc.

No use of bold (with the exception of titles) nor capitals (with the exception of the beginning of proper names, institutions, capitals for titles in English, etc.).

2 / Body of the text

The text must be entered in the Word software, using Times New Roman, size 12, line spacing 1.5, without any special formatting, except titles, headings, captions and paragraph breaks.

3 / Quotations

Quotations of less than 3 lines will be inserted into the text and placed between quotation marks.

Quotes of more than five lines will be indented to the left and right, size 10 (not 12), and without quotation marks.

4 / References

The bibliographical references will be grouped according to author’s name alphabetical order at the end of the article in a section titled "Bibliography", according to the following model:

 For a book: First name Last name, Title, City of publishing, Publishing house (Collection), year of publication, page.

 For a collective work: First name Last Name and First name Last name of dir./coord./eds./etc., Title, City of publishing, Publishing house, year of publication, page, or First name Last name et al., Title, City of publishing, Publishing house, year of publication, page.

For a chapter of a collective work: First name, Last name, (dir./coord./eds./etc.), Title, City of publishing, Publishing house, year of publication, page.

 For a journal article: First Name Last Name, "Article Title", Journal Title, Vol./N °, Date, City of publishing, Publishing house, year of Publication, page.

 For electronic reference: First name Last name, “Title of article”, Journal title, vol./n°, date, [online] [url], accessed on [date].

5 / Illustrations, charts and tables

The photographs accompanying the text should be scanned in high definition (300 dpi, 15 cm minimum) in Jpg or Tiff formats.

Text files will be distinct from graphic files.

The author must verify that the images / figures of which he is not the author are free of rights.

Otherwise, he must apply to the owner of the image / figure before submitting it to the magazine.

Illustrations, charts and tables must be legendary in a specific way:

The title of the illustrations should be placed above the illustration.

The legend and credits (source, copyright, etc.) must be placed under the illustration on two separate lines.

Editorial line

Placed in the fields of architectural, urban and landscape research, the Cahiers initially developed from the 1970s in research labs of the French schools of architecture. On becoming an online international journal, the Cahiers initiates today a new formula targeted towards the research communities concerned by intentional transformations of space, whatever the scales.

The journal aims at meeting current interests and issues in these fields, seeking to renew them and to open new directions of research. Three main research issues are more directly questioned. One specifically concerns theoretical aspects, in order to develop exchanges and discussions between theories of design, planning, architecture and landscape. Another issue refers to the materiality of the city, the technical know-how involved in spatial transformation, but also the material dimension of of transfer and mobilization phenomena, often analyzed in other journals from a-spatial angles. Lastly, the third issue questions the project and its design, which holds a special place in the sciences and the practice of space (performative roles of projects, theories of practice).

These three poles call for interdisciplinary works, dedicated to trace in-depth explanations of the transformations of the built environment at the Anthropocene Era. The expected scientific production refers to common criteria of peer reviewing processes. It could pay a particular attention to the issues of pictures and visual production in a field where images can serve as discourse.

Thematics folders

Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère online issue two or three time a year a thematic folder dedicated to a specific and problematized theme, and which consists of around ten articles in French and English.

A call for papers is broadcasted for each thematic heading. Proposals may be in French or English. The evaluation is peer-rewiewed.


The online magazine has 2 headings to accommodate miscellaneous articles, and outside thematic folders.

Research news: Various reports: theses, entitlement to supervise research, reviews of works, exhibitions.

Research materials: interviews, practitioners’ discourses, translations, reference texts...

Proposals may be in French or English.

The texts are evaluated and peer-rewiewed.

Editorial Board



Editorial Assistant : AUDE CLAVEL


  • Sunday, March 15, 2020


  • habitat social, architecture


  • aude clavel
    courriel : craup [dot] secretariat [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • aude clavel
    courriel : craup [dot] secretariat [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

« Renewals for Architecture and Social Housing? », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, https://calenda.org/694734

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search