International Journal of Housing Policy Volume 17 Issue 4 2017 [Doi 10.1080_19491247.2017.1372958] Varady, David P. -- A Review of _Sustainable Communities and Urban Housing- A Comparative European

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  Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at Download by:  [University of Florida] Date:  26 October 2017, At: 07:50 International Journal of Housing Policy ISSN: 1949-1247 (Print) 1949-1255 (Online) Journal homepage: A Review of Sustainable communities and urbanhousing: a comparative European perspective ,Edited by Montserrat Pareja-Eastaway and NessaWinston David P. Varady To cite this article:  David P. Varady (2017) A Review of Sustainable communities andurban housing: a comparative European perspective , Edited by Montserrat Pareja-Eastaway and Nessa Winston, International Journal of Housing Policy, 17:4, 608-611, DOI:10.1080/19491247.2017.1372958 To link to this article: Published online: 18 Sep 2017.Submit your article to this journal Article views: 40View related articles View Crossmark data  Importantly then, this book serves as a critical lesson in paying attention and con-sidering historical alternative narratives in planning, and the ways in which wemight seek to regain the public good in planning practice. Sophie Elsmore Department of Urban, Leisure and Environment Studies, London South Bank University, UK   2017 Sophie Elsmore Sustainable communities and urban housing: a comparative Europeanperspective,  Edited by Montserrat Pareja-Eastaway and Nessa Winston, London and  New York, Routledge, 2017, 266 pp., £110.00 (hardback), ISBN 978-1-138-91148-2Historically, the term ‘sustainable development’ has been confined to environmen-tal issues, but recently policy-makers have tried to include economic and social per-spectives as well. To what extent have practitioners been successful inencompassing all three perspectives? What are the lessons for future policies? Sustainable Communities and Urban Housing  , edited by Monsterrat Pareja-Eastaway and Nessa Winston, does a terrific job in highlighting the trade-offsamong the three perspectives. The book covers 11 European countries with all four types of welfare regimes – social democratic, liberal, southern European, and east-ern European post-socialist – with very different housing markets and housing policies.Each chapter has a similar format: background on key environmental, economicand social issues; information on the housing system and housing production; sus-tainable housing/community policies; main barriers to and drivers of sustainabledevelopment; and an analysis of one issue of key significance to that particular nation. The use of a common framework makes this an easy read and an invaluableresource for information on housing issues in these 11 countries. Nessa Winston recommends that Irish cities achieve greater diversification of the housing stock and more social mixing by requiring greater use of the Irish Hous-ing Agency’s Part V program. Originally, 20% of land zoned for residential devel-opment had to be set aside to meet any identified need for social and affordablehousing, but, in response to builders’ objections, the program’s mixing componentwas watered down. The long-term viability of mixed neighbourhoods will, how-ever, also require high quality neighbourhoods (including good schools) in order toinsure that city and apartment communities are not merely stepping stones for 608  Book Reviews    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   F   l  o  r   i   d  a   ]  a   t   0   7  :   5   0   2   6   O  c   t  o   b  e  r   2   0   1   7  middle-income families relocating to detached/semi-detached dwellings in the sub-urbs and beyond.Monsterrat Pareja-Eastaway and Maria-Teresa Sanchez-Martinez note that theSpanish government’s pro-speculation approach has worked against sustainabilityand, instead, has created vacant ghost housing. To create viable, compact, and diverse central cities, Spanish city planners need to invoke the density of Spain’scities of the past. They also need to alter the Spanish mind set away fromspeculation.Ingra-Bitt Werner reports on an innovative, but still unproven Stockholm pro-gram to sell municipally owned properties to tenant associations for cooperativeownership. Unfortunately, the chapter provides no evidence that the programresulted in greater social mixing, decreased social segregation, or greater social sta- bility. More specifically the program did not reduce crime, and those renters who became homeowners, did not become more responsible, involved citizens.Eli Stoa’s case study of the Brøset revitalisation project in Trondheim, Norway proved disappointing. The project sought to achieve a social mix by attracting dif-ferent household types and attempting to involve residents in the planning process.Unfortunately, eight years after the project was approved, construction had not begun. Apparently, the level of social mixing proposed by planners was too high,thereby discouraging developers and prospective tenants/owners.Jacob Larsen and colleagues criticise Denmark’s social housing retrofitting pro-grams because of the lack of attention given to the behaviour of consumers, renters,and home owners. Contrary to the expectations, retrofitting led to increased energyconsumption through a ‘rebound effect’ – when residents raise thermostat settingsin buildings that were made more energy efficient. Larsen’s most relevant study isSonderborg’s ProjectZero, which combined retrofitting buildings and energy meas-ures with extensive outreach, and succeeded in increasing residents’ interest inreducing energy consumption.Reinout Kleinhans questions the prospects for citizen-led initiatives like com-munity enterprises (CEs) in the Netherlands, and by implication, other Europeansocial democratic welfare states. The 14 new CEs that he studied (many of whichrented out office/work space) found it problematic to operate without ongoing pub-lic subsidies and also found it difficult to recruit and keep volunteers.Glen Bramley’s own UK ‘City Form’ research provides limited support for social mixing as part of a community sustainability strategy. He observes that mix-ing socio-economic and ethnic groups ‘could be negative … ’ (p. 152) – a conclusionsupported by earlier social science research. His second conclusion – that socialcapital has a positive effect on general well-being – implies that efforts to promotesocial capital could create happier communities. It is unclear, however, how plan-ners can raise social capital levels in communities that lack it.Focusing on Germany, Deilmann and Effenberger argue that the use of bindingtargets (e.g. the Frieburg Charter) has helped German local officials in a number of   International Journal of Housing Policy  609    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   F   l  o  r   i   d  a   ]  a   t   0   7  :   5   0   2   6   O  c   t  o   b  e  r   2   0   1   7  cities to make progress in incorporating all three goals – economic, social, environ-ment – into community sustainability strategies. But nevertheless, German plannersface two formidable challenges, affordability and availability. Large cities like Ber-lin are experiencing a growing affordability problem being especially attractive toyoung, highly educated adults, while restrictive land policies limit land for develop-ment thereby elevating housing prices. Additionally, high levels of immigrationfrom the Global South have made it even more difficult. More than one millionmigrants and asylum seekers arrived in Germany in 2015. Deilmann and Effen- berger assert that housing organisations have gained much ‘experience with integra-tion and how to avoid stigmatization’ (p. 240), but they provide few details aboutthese programs. Consequently, it is impossible to see what lessons Germany canoffer regarding immigrant integration for cities elsewhere in Europe.Margrit Hugentobler observes that Switzerland’s unique democratic decision-making, including citizen initiatives for new programs and referenda on existingones, supports all three pillars of sustainability. For example, ‘More than Housing,’a 2007 Zurich neighbourhood-scale project for around 1400 people, involves vari-ous apartment options for different household types including immigrant families, amix of infrastructure services on the first floor, extremely restricted car ownership,and resident involvement in decision-making.Turning to eastern Europe, Catalina Turcu notes that Romania’s large housingestates, now privatised, could form a good starting point for compact, sociallymixed, and sustainable urban neighbourhoods. The country’s record for energy ret-rofitting former social housing developments, however, has been spotty. While theretrofitting has tackled environmental issues (e.g. energy consumption) and eco-nomics (energy costs), it has largely disregarded institutional and social aspects (e.g. there has been little effort to change energy usage).In Hungary, as Iv  an Tosics points out, the main barrier to sustainable compactcities is the decentralisation of decision-making in favour of a pro-development,fragmented system of local governments. Hungary’s Integrated Urban Develop-ment Strategies in the early 2000s offered a solution to this institutional barrier.Municipalities seeking EU funding had to formulate an anti-segregation vision for declining neighbourhoods. Hungary’s swing to the political right in 2010, unfortu-nately, eliminated much of the muscle from the earlier more progressive planningstrategy. Sustainable Communities and Urban Housing   persuaded me about the need for a three-pronged approach toward community sustainability, but the book demon-strated how hard it will be to achieve comprehensiveness. Many policy-makers will be tempted to focus exclusively on environmental issues, i.e. energy efficiency, butaccepting an invitation toward a one-pronged strategy would be disastrous. ‘A fail-ure to tackle the issue of inadequate housing supply and access to affordable hous-ing will exacerbate the xenophobia that is already evident in some of the countries610  Book Reviews    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   F   l  o  r   i   d  a   ]  a   t   0   7  :   5   0   2   6   O  c   t  o   b  e  r   2   0   1   7
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