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Untitled Document
Metropolitan Dynamics: Urban Change, Markets and Governance

Created in 2005

Iván Tosics
Metropolitan Research Institute
Budapest, Hungary
E-mail: tosics@mri.hu
Christiane Thouzellier
Interdisciplinary Laboratory on Solidarities, Societies, Territories LISST
(UTM-CNRS-EHESS) UMR 5193 and Recherche Habitat-Logement (REHAL)
University of Toulouse - Le Mirail
Toulouse, France
E-mail: cthouzel@univ-tlse2.fr

Central Theme
The working group "Metropolitan dynamics: urban change, market and governance" (established in 2005 by Ronald van Kempen and Iván Tosics) aims to deal with the spatial dimensions of housing policies. Changes in housing, whether through new construction, refurbishment, demolition, tenure change, etc. have always also a spatial dimension, through which housing can be considered as a tool to address urban development challenges (densification, suburbanization) and social problems (affordability, homelessness, segregation) through spatially defined strategies.

Taking this spatial aspect into consideration, the WG aspires on multi-disciplinary analysis, how housing processes can be steered with governance and spatial planning tools in urban areas – from the neighbourhood through the city till the metropolitan area level. Thus the spatial level can be smaller but also larger than the area covered by the administrative city borders. The WG also also recognises that ‘housing’ is much influenced by other policies and sectors, such as planning, transport, environment, local government services and financing, financial regulation, welfare and taxation.

Within the broader topic outlined above, a special interest area of the WG is the operation of local housing markets in the functional urban area. The territories around the core city, from where city jobs are accessible by daily commuting, play special role in the urban housing market, both on the higher (rich suburbs) and on the lower end of the housing hierarchy (transitory areas for those who cannot afford housing within the city). On this metropolitan scale many critical challenges can be handled: urban sprawl and unsustainability, affordability and accessibility, infrastructure and services, segregation or fiscal imbalances. A widespread failure to match housing supply and demand in terms of location, quantity or type of housing may be attributable to problems at this scale. Across a range of countries, change and reform is bringing a new focus to this metropolitan scale, whether from downward devolution to city regions or upward consolidation of local government, often in a climate of fiscal stress. to analyze the relationship between cities and their urban regions, which shows substantial changes over time, marked by growth (urbanization) or decline (desurbanization) of the whole area, or by processes of inter-regional restructuring (suburbanization or re-urbanization). The changes, either gradual or more sudden, influence to a great extent the functioning of the housing market within these urban regions and have differential effects on different parts of that region (also within different neighbourhoods in a city). Causes of changes can usually be found in macro-developments, such as economic growth/decline, migration/demographics, changes in incomes and preferences and, at least in some countries, also in specific policies on different spatial scales.

This working group is the most urban and planning oriented working group of ENHR, dealing with all aspects of urban development. The organizers of this WG are counting on growing interest of those members of the ENHR, who are "infected" by urban topics, spatial and/or geographical approaches.

Future plans: participation in the ENHR 2018 Uppsala conference
The overall conference theme is 'More together, more apart: Migration, densification, segregation'. The theme refers to migration across international borders, and also rural-urban migration within countries, as a result of which growing numbers of people are concentrating in urban areas. This evokes considerations to increase residential densities within urban areas which has obviously consequences regarding physical and social boundaries between neighbourhoods and communities, defined with regard to ethnicity and socio-economic status. The ENHR’2018 Uppsala Workshop Metropolitan Dynamics accepts papers in the topic of spatial analysis of housing policies and processes, in connection with the dynamics of migration, densification and segregation. Besides the traditional analysis of municipal housing policies we are particularly interested in descriptions and interpretations how the metropolitan (functional urban area) dimension emerges in discussions about future housing and urban policies. To what extent innovative cities recognize the importance of the metropolitan areas outside their city borders and include these into their longer term urban and housing policies? What types of housing policy tools are needed for such new types of territorially integrated policies and how can these be institutionalized within the framework of metropolitan level policy making and governance systems?

Summary of the activities during the past few years
Since 2005 the WG Metropolitan dynamics was present in all ENHR conferences. In the 2017 Tirana conference there was a substantial interest towards the sessions organized by the Metropolitan dynamics WG: in four sessions 11 papers have been presented. At the closing session there was an open discussion about the future of the WG. Most papers were not about metropolitan but municipal housing policies, on the other hand most papers had some spatial aspects. A decision has been taken to modify the topic of the WG towards multi-disciplinary analysis, how housing processes can be steered with governance and spatial planning tools in urban areas – not necessarily on metropolitan area level but giving priority to the spatial dimension. In the 2016 Belfast conference 6 papers were presented in three sessions, while in the 2015 Lisbon conference 8 papers were presented in three sessions.