Romanian suburban housing: Home improvement through owner-building

A.M. Soaita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
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The new suburban housing developments in post-socialist cities have been ubiquitous icons of socioeconomic and physical change. This paper examines suburban owner-built housing as a long-term strategy of home improvement in Romania. It analyses residents’ motivations and financial strategies to move up the housing ladder through owner-building and their responses to key neighbourhood problems, in particular poor public infrastructure and non-existent public facilities. It is argued that owner-builders generally benefitted from the economic informality, the relaxed legal culture and the unregulated housing context of the Romanian post-socialist transition; but the absence of public actors has weakened their achievements, which is most apparent at neighbourhood level. The paper draws attention to a context of politico-economic reforms and a set of socio-cultural values of housing privatism in which resident responses may frequently generate consequential (collective) problems localised at the level of streets, neighbourhoods or even the whole society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2084-2101
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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