Overcrowding and ‘underoccupancy’ in Romania: A case study of housing inequality

A.M. Soaita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines aspects of space consumption in two very different housing types: The communist mid-rise estates and postcommunist suburban self-built housing. Examining residents' perceptions in order to categorise space as overcrowded or underoccupied, the paper engages critically with the issue of the inefficient distribution of Romanian housing: that is, a considerable mismatch between dwelling and household size. The analysis documents the continued salience of overcrowding in the communist estates and, conversely, self-builders' satisfaction with the generous size of their new homes. Market forces permit various modes of residential mobility, but their likely outcome is growing housing inequality while any redistributive impact will remain insignificant unless policy incentives could facilitate conversion of underoccupied space into (social) renting housing. However, only a sustained delivery of larger and affordable new dwellings could alleviate overcrowding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-221
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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