The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU co-hosts discussion on racism and discrimination in refugee housing

27 September 2022

The DPU co-hosted an event with UFZ and Eutropian that was part of the JPI Urban Europe and ESRC funded House-in project featuring contributions from policy makers, NGOs and academics

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How can the perspective of housing and urban justice be embedded in antiracist practices in housing for and by refugees? Set against emergency response and double standards, the current housing crisis across European urban environments is increasingly affecting the infrastructure of settlement, exposing its enduring coloniality. As part of the House-in project, a JPI Urban Europe and ESRC funded project led by Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig (Annegret Haase and Anika Schmidt), with DPU-UCL (Giovanna Astolfo and Harriet Allsopp) and Eutropian (Bahanur Nasya) hosted an event on the 20th September discussing “Racism and discrimination in refugee housing and home-making”.

The event has seen contributions from Afsane Akhtar-Khawari (Anti-Discrimination Office, Leipzig) presenting the important work and also challenges faced by the antidiscrimination bureau in Leipzig; Dragana Curovic (Helsingborgshem, Helsingborg) talking about intersectional housing in Sweden; Karlis Laksevics (University of Latvia, Riga) discussing selective compassion in housing refugees and ambivalent notion of decolonisation in Riga; Waqas Saeed (Wohnpartner 21, Vienna) exploring the perceptive dimension of discrimination in housing practices in Vienna; Annegret Haase (UFZ) providing insights from the HOUSE-IN project consortium and Laura Colini (Mimetis) discussing the imbrication of racism with issues of gender and ethnicity, and how discrimination is ultimately embedded in place based policies.

The event was part of the HOUSE-IN project. Over 15 months, we have conducted conversations and interviews with policy makers and civil society organisations to investigate challenges at the housing-integration intersection and shed light on entrenched inequality in accessing housing, accommodation and other forms of dwelling across four cities.

The research has brought to light
discriminatory and racist behaviours toward refugees/migrants, conflicts within home environments, as well as anti-racist practices from below. The project shows that while inclusion narratives and solidarity are present alongside so-called compassion fatigue, the housing infrastructure in Europe continues to be a multiplicator of difference, reproducing coloniality through everyday practices of welcoming, integration policies and even research.

The work wishes to explore how housing as an infrastructure of care facilitates settling and participation, but also exposes care as both emancipatory and disempowering, and how migrants and refugees become ‘casualties of care’ (Tiktin 2011) within and through housing and homemaking.


The JPI Urban Europe is a consortia of Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ); The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London; Eutropian GmbH; Lund University – Housing Development & Management; Malmö University – School of Arts and Communication; University of Latvia – Department of Anthropology Studies;  Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Institut für Stadt- und Regionalforschung


Kabiso, Aklilu Fikresilassie, Eoin O’Neill, Finbarr Brereton

Wondimu Abeje. 2022. "Rapid Urbanization in Ethiopia: Lakes as Drivers and Its Implication for the Management of Common Pool Resources" Sustainability 14, no. 19: 12788.