CfP: The Housing Question of Tomorrow, Nordic Journal of Architectural Research NJAR

Call for Papers: The Housing Question of Tomorrow, Nordic Journal of Architectural Research NJAR

Editors: Daniel Movilla Vega (Umea University), Ola Nylander (Chalmers University of Technology) and Magnus Ronn (Chalmers University of Technology)
Over the past 40 years, the shift of the economic cycle towards a hegemonic market-oriented order has marginalized the construction of public and social housing. This development is described in books such as 99 Years of the Housing Question in Sweden (Movilla Vega, 2017) and Svensk bostadsarkitektur: utveckling fran 1800-tal till 2000-tal (Nylander, 2018), Hva er en god bolig? Boligens utvikling i Norge fra 1650 til 2017 (Moe & Martens, 2018), in which the deregulation, financialisation and globalisation of Western housing systems, starting in the 80s, has increasingly removed the restrictions that granted the social function of housing as an infrastructure for living. Instead, an unceasing process of commodification of housing has expanded to become the official line amongst public authorities, large architectural firms and the circuits of investment (Marcuse & Madden, 2016). This raises critical questions about the consequences of this change: How does this new situation affect design qualities and construction standards? How does it impact on housing shortages, rental and property prices, and tenant harassment? What are the effects on expulsions from the urban cores, the fracturing of neighbourhoods, and the weakening of the social fabric?
In an official housing narrative with apparently no alternatives to hyper-commodification, more and more innovative residential projects are gaining momentum as strategic sites for local communities to achieve social change (Kries, 2017). Experimentation in terms of constructing and managing housing is showing the potential of the architecture of dwelling to confront power, structural violence and social inequalities in the city (Karakusevic & Batchelor, 2017). Cases channelling more democratic methods of provision are also precursors of innovations in residential architecture and are, once again, framing the housing question in its social and spatial dimensions (Sennett 2018).
This theme issue of NJAR aims at examining, in different contexts, contemporary housing practices that outline a new social relevance of housing in the 21st century. Could this be an opportunity to consolidate alternative residential logics to speculative systems of provision? What are the needs of public and social housing today compared with earlier times, and what kind of questions are important to ask today? What is the role of the national and local authorities, associations, co-operatives and residents in the creation of desirable and integrated residential neighbourhoods? How are current housing spatial practices tailored to local circumstances? (e.g. social, cultural and ecological structures; local production methods; the hopes, wishes and economic possibilities of residents)
This theme issue of NJAR focuses on reframing the housing question in its social and spatial, contemporary and future dimensions, and as a design challenge for architectural practices. Theme editors will select articles that provide solutions to and interesting reflections on this important challenge.
The editors welcome abstracts that bring together real-life exemplary case studies from different contexts that reflect on alternative routes of delivery, organization and design ideas, as well as theoretical surveys and reflections upon the main inquiry: What are the housing questions for the Nordic cities of tomorrow?
Authors of research articles are requested to submit their abstracts to the editors before 31 December 2019. (Max 300 words)
The full text of the call for abstracts and previous issues of NJAR are available at
For inquiries, please contact theme editors Daniel Movilla Vega ( and Ola Nylander (

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