Belgrade International Architecture Week
Beogradska Internacionalna Nedelja Arhitekture


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Saturday, May 13, 2023., 18.00

→ CCB, Art Gallery, Knez Mihailova 6

Belgrade as a Case of the Many — An attempt to understanding the global housing crisis


Presentation: Angelika Hinterbrandner and Rebekka Hirschberg (, LINA Fellows

The emergent global crisis of urban housing affordability is so far under-recognised and under-researched. Key academic debates in housing studies and urban studies do not translate to real-life policy changes. Current public debates often cement polarized debates (for example build more vs. expropriate in Berlin) without integrating the complex interdependencies of housing, climate, societal needs, economic aspects and other factors. To develop viable solutions, it is necessary to understand the global dependencies as much as local specificities. These dependencies, complexities, histories and societal understandings, which are influencing the housing situation is what we will work on. Belgrade as a Case of the Many is an attempt to understanding the roots and origins of the status quo to suggest what a next step could look like.

Due to its socialist past, Belgrade is a specific case and very different from other European cities the team is familiar with. The right to housing was specifically mentioned and declared as a basic legal institution and one of the most important means in the First Yugoslav Forum on Housing and Construction, 1956. During the socialist period, concepts of social ownership and self-management were introduced. Apartments were granted for permanent use to workers on the basis of their work engagement. Nevertheless, the system was not perfect, and issues of poverty, poor housing, and homelessness were largely ignored, and the housing system did not manage to provide public housing for all households who required it due to limited economic resources and low efficiency. Current developments are therefore influenced by the neoliberal as well as the post-socialist condition of Belgrade.  

Presently, housing affordability is a significant concern in Belgrade, with many residents facing challenges in securing affordable and adequate housing. The Serbian government has implemented several measures to address the housing situation, including constructing social housing units, offering subsidies and loans for housing, and formalizing informal settlements. However, these measures have been insufficient to meet the demand for affordable housing in the city, and many residents continue to reside in overcrowded and substandard living conditions. Through the proposed workshop is firstly trying to trace the described implications of politics on space and architecture and secondly, bringing in the perspectives of different actors. How to ensure access to affordable housing in Belgrade for the 99% today and in the future?

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