Socio-economic and physical change have visibly affected post-socialist cities, yet the state of decay of their inherited large housing estates has only deepened throughout the 1990s, despite the change in tenure through policies of large-scale privatisation. Housing disrepair has now reached a critical stage that requires rapid private and public intervention. This paper examines the extent to which Romanian block residents have been able to improve in situ their housing conditions since 2000, the strategies they employed and the challenges they faced. It focuses on the often ignored private domain of housing, flats and blocks, where changes are also likely to be less visible. By analysing the process of individual utility metering and the practice of collective block management, I argue that besides economics, the unregulated housing context and a relaxed legal culture have challenged individual and collective action and have generated a framework of housing privatism.
|Published - 2012