ESSAYS AND STUDIES
HOUSING POLICY AND MONITORING OF GENTRIFICATION – LESSONS FROM SWEDEN
This article analyses the manner of creating and implementation of housing policy and solving problem of social exclusion and segregation in Swedish cities. Sweden, in time of welfare state, had one of the most democratic concepts of affordable housing, but implementation of neoliberal concept in the field of housing policy caused huge changes. These changes led to use and implementation of various managerial instruments and tools, but as a bad consequence in this policy field with negligence housing affordability for poor people, it caused increasing of social differences, poverty, social isolation and segregation.
In that sense, the experiences from Swedish cities are very interesting for Serbia too, as transitional country which transfer from model of affordable and mixed housing to neoliberal housing policy model. In Serbia too, state and local governments neglected housing policy.
The aim of this analysis is identification of causes and consequences of transition to neoliberal model, and therefor how Serbia can prevent occurring the problems which appeared in Sweden, to procure affordable housing to citizens, and especially to decrease chances for segregation and poverty of vulnerable social groups.
One of the most important conclusions of this comparative analysis of housing policies is that establishment of democratic and decentralized system of government, with modernization of management and affirmation of professionalism, especially in creation and implementation of public policies, are of a great importance for procuring good results. Swedish model of housing policy changed (from welfare model of affordable housing to neoliberal, market model) but established instruments which allow monitoring of changes (conducting of research, creation of indicators, benchmarking), measurement of results and their declination from public good (poverishing, resettlement of citizens, their marginalization), open space for identification of problems (segregation of poor social groups, tensions, and social conflicts) and therefore this policy are corrected. The correction can be implemented by returning to previous model which did not caused this kind of problems (but demand huge public subsidy) or focusing on solution of existing problems caused by implementation of neoliberal model (programs against segregation), what is a case in Swedish cities.
These programs declined bad consequences of neoliberal model but are not durable solution for segregation. In order to prevent process of impoverishment which leads in extreme to homelessness as possible provocation for social tensions and conflicts, probably it is necessary to include these programs to be integral part of housing policy with regeneration of social, public housings of good quality and procurement of affordable housing for vulnerable social groups. Such reformed housing policies can be seen in a number of western Europe`s countries and cities. In that sense, state and local governments in Serbia should strengthen competencies in housing policy, to develop partnership with private sector and civil society, to modernize management (create good data basis, conduct researches, create indicators, benchmarking) with identification of vulnerable social groups. This process ought to be participative (including citizens and especially vulnerable groups) in order to tailor policy according to real needs of society.