Beginning my ‘Inhabiting Radical Housing’ ERC Starting grant project

After some personal and COVID-19 delay, today we start my European Research Council (ERC) project on “Inhabiting Radical Housing”!

I look forward to the next 5 years of fieldwork, decolonial housing research & undercommons building and praxis across the globe. The project will allow for collaborations with old and new comrades, scholars and networks in several regions of the world. You can find a short presentation of the main aim of this work below.

In the next months, we’ll start hiring & launch new tools for engagement and direct support for action, at the Urban Institute in Sheffield. Also, some new manoeuvrings to be expected with my dear friend AbdouMaliq Simone. More info soon!

Project’s aims
According to UN-Habitat, each year millions of people face forced eviction from their homes, while a staggering 1.6 billion are inadequately housed. Forecasts suggest housing precarity will continue to grow in future, worldwide. In response, grassroots housing movements are becoming increasingly common. Crucially, these groups fight for more than just housing, often advancing critiques of wider societal inequalities. Yet little is known of the broader significance of these struggles, and research has failed to offer an understanding of geographically dispersed movements. The ways in which the fight for the right to housing operates is essential to understand contemporary urban life. The project will fill these critical gaps through a decolonial Inhabiting Radical Housing Approach and empirical research at a global scale.

First, the project identifies the importance of a historical understanding of dwelling precarity, to appreciate the relevance of housing struggles worldwide (Objective I). Second, it investigates and profiles prominent grassroots networks in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia to analyse their goals and organisational culture (Objective II). To appreciate the wider significance of radical housing resistance, the project deploys an ambitious ethnographic encounter with grassroots struggles in eight emblematic cities (Objective III). It then brings selected participants and activists together in a series of innovative action-oriented activities (defined from below), fostering the exchange of peer-to-peer knowledge and offering support to direct action (Objective IV). Finally, the project will gather these insights into an innovative critical and decolonial framework, which will lead to agenda-setting publications, interventions, and academic scholarship (Objective V).

The project will contribute to housing, urban and geographical studies, as well as to grassroots knowledge, opening a new phase in understanding the global fight against housing precarity.